Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Black Swan: a review


I've been wanting to see this film ever since I caught wind of it back in late November. A psychological thriller involving Russian ballets, Natalie Portman, and really creepy looking movie posters has got to be good, right?

If I could describe this movie in one word, it would be...


I mean, prior to seeing it, I already expected it to be disturbing, mainly from reading critic reviews and hearing feedback from my friends, who said that they found it "confusing" and was "the most fucked up thing I've ever seen." As I stepped into the movie theatre, I knew that I was in for a wild ride.

However, as the film progressed, my (very limited) knowledge of psychology began kicking in. Before the end, I was already able to deduce something along the lines of paranoia/split personality disorder/etc. Along with having recently watched several psychological thrillers over winter break, I was already accustomed to the whole mind-fuck movie genre, and knew what to expect.

However, that's just me, and I still applaud Darren Aronofsky for confusing the hell out of his general audience.

Along with the marvelous acting, I loved how this movie made me squirm in my seat. I've read many reviews saying that some parts, especially the lesbian sex scenes, were unnecessary and made them feel uncomfortable. But at the same time, you're going into an R-rated movie that, upon opening weekend has already become notorious for being gruesome, twisted, and highly sexual, are you honestly surprised? I feel that that the eroticism has added to the uneasiness of the movie, especially in this sex-phobic society that we live in.

Yes, the whole concept of black-vs-white/good-vs-evil concept is overdone. However, I think that it has been made original again by incorporating the story of Swan Lake, which already is a dark, heart-wrenching work of art in itself. This film has sort of introduced a darker side of the performing arts to the general public, in which artists, dancers and musicians are consumed by the competitiveness and drama of being involved in theatrical productions. While most performing artists I know don't develop severe psychological problems due to their line of work, I do realize that it is stressful. Prior to seeing this film, however, I never really considered how contrasting the two roles of this ballet were, and how demanding it would be for a dancer to play the swan queen. I feel like my eyes have now been opened to a whole new world.

...Of course, I may be biased since I'm an avid Tchaikovsky fan.

Ah, hell, of course I am. Regardless, I encourage everyone to watch this film. It will definitely be a new experience to behold.

8.5/10 stars.

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