Sunday, December 26, 2010

Black Swan

Darren Aronofsky brings us another minor masterpiece with "Black Swan". Using the same hand held technique he did in "Requiem For A Dream", he creates a claustrophobic world of ballet seen through the eyes of Nina Sayers, the dancer picked to play the Swan Queen in a new production of "Swan Lake".

Natalie Portman plays Nina. She is wonderful in a complex and difficult role as she slowly succumbs to the pressure of the lead. She also does an admirable job with her dancing as it is obviously her in many of the ballet sequences. Vincent Cassel, plays the controlling and manipulative dance company director and Barbara Hershey plays Erica Sayers, Nina's mother who has issues of her own. Winona Ryder has a small but pivotal role as Beth MacIntyre, the lead ballerina forced out by Cassel.

A real revelation (besides Ms. Portman) is Mila Kunis, who until now has not had any really significant parts. Here, she plays another ballerina who befriends Nina and yet is a rival for the Swan Queen. She shows a new maturity and depth to her acting. Ms. Kunis also does much of her own dancing quite well (at least to my untrained eye).

Mr. Aronofsky leads us into the world of ballet and then builds the suspense to a breaking point of an ending. The film has it's moments of beauty, shock and controversy and expect to be caught in it's seductive power.

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