Tuesday, 26 October 2010

[397] Black Swan (2010) Review

Covering the London Film Festival is a bigger deal than I'd anticipated. I'm far behind on my write-ups, with 5 columns left to bash out, and there are still other films to see. Black Swan's a biggie, though. So here's a review of that. I also got the chance to interview Aronofsky himself - but you won't see that until the film's UK release in February, sadly.

More to come.

There's something a little bittersweet about watching Black Swan, one of the highlights of the London Film Festival's programme and, importantly, the latest film from director Darren Aronofsky. It now seems set in stone that he will finally graduate from his stellar line of small budget, against-the-grain outsider works, leaping into the comic book adaptation big league, reportedly taking the helm of the new Wolverine movie (although, while at the festival, the director himself seemed unwilling to confirm this development).

This news is particularly saddening, since Black Swan is one of his best works to date, the product of a confident, skilled artist who is in total control of his talents.

You probably already know the setup. This is a film about ballet, specifically, a production of Tchaikovsky's
Swan Lake, which is shot through with the emotional intensity of psychological horror. Like Aronofsky's previous film, the gritty character piece The Wrestler, Black Swan looks at the demanding behind-the-scenes aspects, physically and mentally, of its chosen artform.

Here, young dancer Nina (Natalie Portman), is cast in the production's lead role, and is tasked with performing as both the virginal White Swan, and the antagonistic, seductive Black Swan. Although, while she is perfectly capable of executing the poise and grace of the former character, she is lacking a certain something when it comes to the darker side of the performance, something beyond technique, which director Thomas (Vincent Cassel) pushes her to attain.

Read the full article here.

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