I must admit I had my reservations about seeing Black Swan ever since the project was announced a couple of years ago. Mostly because, I am not a fan of the ballet and second, I tend to shy away from thriller genre films. The only reason I finally decided to see the film was because I couldn’t miss a Vincent Cassel performance no matter how uninterested I am in the storyline.
I saw the film over a week ago but for some reason needed a few days to reflect on how best to write about it and believe me to this day I cannot seem to figure out how to approach the entire thing without upsetting anyone.
The reason for my contemplation is that, although the film seems to get outstanding reviews and high recommendations, something is missing. Now, don’t get me wrong, if I had to compare Black Swan to all other films released in 2010, it is the best one out there, but if I had to compare it to other psychological thrillers from years past, it just doesn’t pan out in my opinion. Keep in mind this review has no baring on Natalie Portman’s performance.
Synopsis: Like any normal ballet dancer, Nina (Natalie Portman) wanted to land a leading role in her ballet company ran by Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel). When he finally chooses her to dance the lead role in Swan Lake from among 50 other dancers, Nina knows she has to out perform her predecessor, who was forced to retire, in order to stay in the game and gain the respect of her colleagues.
However, the overwhelming challenges to play the Black Swan to perfection and the threat of possibly being replaced by newcomer Lilly (Mila Kunis) for the part, causes Nina to show signs of an alarming breakdown and an escalating battle within herself, which then results in a disturbing but not surprising ending.
So, here is where the problem is with the film. In my opinion, director Arron Aronofsky had trouble keeping a coherent pace because, at times the movie felt like it was dragging on with no clear direction. In addition, although the movie may have kept the audience on the edge of their seats, the sequence of events which detailed Nina’s breakdown were sometimes very confusing. It became very difficult to decipher who had the nervous breakdown between Nina, her mother or a dance partner named Lilly. But then perhaps that was the intent on Aronofsky’s part. Nonetheless, the style of filmmaking didn’t effectively relay that, what we were seeing onscreen, was actually a visual of what was going on through Nina’s mind.
Although I didn’t care much about the film, I still do recommend seeing it, especially since 2010 film releases were pretty bleak and mediocre.