Thursday, January 13, 2011

Black Swan (Darren Aronofsky)

The Swan Lake acid.

After his masterpiece "The Wrestler", Darren Aronofsky, arguably the best director working today, had, in some ways, combined the paranoiac overtones of "Pi" and the relentless nerve-wrecking style of "Requiem for a Dream" to create "Black Swan", an unsettling film experience exploring the dark psycho-sexual journey of a woman consumed by theater and sexual repression.

Now we've all seen the more abhorring side behind the theater curtains via Joseph Mankiewicz's "All About Eve", a classic film about ambition and fame and the unthinkable ways one would do just to attain them. But "Black Swan" departed itself from the common direction of being a thematic typecast, tackling instead the individualistic theme about a person's self-triggered cerebral destruction (and inner metamorphosis) heightened and brought to the extremes by the clamor for stage perfection. Natalie Portman looked right as Nina, a consummate ballerina seemingly ideal for the part of the Swan Queen but lacking the inner motivations of emotionally letting go to suit it.

Though her physique is naturally thin, Ms. Portman's embodiment of a ballet dancer's body (resembling an alarming look of the pre-anorexic stage) was very impressive. She also did great on the acting department, maintaining a certain look of naivety and disorientation to put a perfect contrast to her numerous dances that require every facial expressions but that. Vincent Cassel of the "Irreversible" fame (more like infamy) was outstanding as the stage director, and Mila Kunis, aside from being almost visually perfect, was also good as that 'other' Swan Queen aspirant that was also the non-existent cause of Nina's jealousy, mania and desire.

We always hear about the line "Life imitates Art" and vice-versa, but "Black Swan", chillingly enhanced by the atmospheric Clint Mansell score, takes us through the downside territories of that famous phrase back and forth, puts us through excruciating mind trips, until it places us into an abstract perspective of the two being one and the same. Forget about theatrical choreography and appropriate movements. When the grayish psyche finally interferes, nothing, even the alluring bright lights of the center stage, would really matter and perpetual distortion as constant reality will surely take over.


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