Not for faint of heart
Review: Kirsten Haydu
Dramatically intense and deeply disturbing only begins to describe Black Swan, which left a lingering and overwhelming sickening feeling long after the credits rolled.
Obsession turns into possession for Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman), a young ballerina in a New York City ballet company who is chosen for the coveted lead role in the ballet Swan Lake.
Nina has spent her whole career working towards an elite role which is now hers, but she struggles to embody and portray the part of the sensual, dark spirited black swan as it is a foreign concept to her soft-spoken and demure nature.
Nina’s overbearing mother Erica (Barbara Hershey) is equally obsessed with Nina’s success as a ballerina which ultimately gives the impression that her protective behaviour plays a significant part in Nina’s unravelling mental disposition.
Her mother passiveaggressively manipulatesand controls Nina’s life soshecanlive the balletexperience vicariously through her daughter since giving upherownballet career to raise Nina.
Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel) is a volatile artistic director who seduces Nina in order to evoke her sensuality for the role of the black swan which only serves to toy with Nina’s fragile emotions and wreak further havoc on her rapidly declining mental state while a new dancer,Lily (Mila Kunis),also appears to pose a threat.
Symbolism is a key element throughout Black Swan with each character surrounding Nina portraying metaphoric black swans which threaten to ruin her chance of succeeding in her performance.
Consumed by her profession and the drive to be the perfect black swan, Nina loses her grip on reality, hallucinating that she sees her alter ego and that she is literally becoming the black swan which is displayed in troubling and often terrifying scenes.
Nina is also gripped by paranoia that Lily is out to take her spot as the lead dancer.
Black Swan is unnerving at the best of times with a movie score to keep the bone-chilling suspense high throughout.
If it weren’t for the fact that I averted my eyes each time Nina experienced self-mutilating hallucinations, I’m sure I would have been nearly catatonic from the graphic imagery by the end of the movie.
Spine-tingling, yes, but also beautiful in the fact that Black Swan is,after all, a movie about ballet.
The dancing is impressive and the imagery in the final performance is absolutely stunning and powerfully moving to watch.
Portman’s portrayal of a passionate ballet dancer brought to the brink by her own mental instability is certainly worthy of an Oscar nomination.
If you want to see an award winning performance and phenomenal directing, Black Swan is worth watching, but it is not a movie for the faint-hearted.
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