HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Parasite
Looking On the Bright Side
Take Me Somewhere Nice
Simon
Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn
Gentlemen Broncos
To the Stars
Lady Godiva Rides Again
Angelfish
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ
Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, A
This is a Hijack
Loved One, The
Jumanji: The Next Level
Krabi 2562
Call of the Wild, The
Diary of a Country Priest
Sea Fever
Throw Down
Grudge, The
Green Man, The
Specialists, The
Convoy
Romantic Comedy
Going Ape!
Rabid
Infinite Football
Little Women
Camino Skies
Ema
Another Shore
Cry Havoc
Legend of the Stardust Brothers, The
Mystery Team
Westward the Women
Demonwarp
Man Who Killed Don Quixote, The
Chloe
Jojo's Bizarre Adventure
Murder Inferno
   
 
Newest Articles
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
Look Sinister: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse on Blu-ray
Star Wars Triple Threat: The Tricky Third Prequel and Sequel
I Can See for Miles: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes on Blu-ray
Too Much Pressure: The Family Way on Blu-ray
The Alan Key: Alan Klein and What a Crazy World on Blu-ray
A Japanese Ghost Story: Kwaidan on Blu-ray
The Zu Gang: Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain on Blu-ray
Reality TV: The Year of the Sex Olympics on DVD
The Young and the Damned: They Live By Night on Blu-ray
Mind How You Go: The Best of COI on Blu-ray
Der Kommissar's in Town: Babylon Berlin Series 3 on DVD
The End of Civilisation as We Know It: The 50th Anniversary
The Whalebone Box: The Andrew Kotting Interview
Being Human: The Elephant Man on 4K UHD Blu-ray
It's! Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 3 on Blu-ray
Put the Boot In: Villain on Blu-ray
The Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 2: Vic Pratt Interview
All the Lonely People: Sunday Bloody Sunday on Blu-ray
Desperate Characters: Beat the Devil on Blu-ray
Chansons d'Amour: Alfie Darling on Blu-ray
   
 
  Black Swan Dance Girl Dance
Year: 2010
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Stars: Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel, Mila Kunis, Barbara Hershey, Winona Ryder, Benjamin Millepied, Ksenia Solo, Kristina Apanau, Janet Montgomery, Sebastian Stan, Toby Hemingway, Sergio Torrado, Mark Margolis, Tina Sloan
Genre: Horror, DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 3 votes)
Review: Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman) had the craziest dream last night where she was dancing the part of the White Swan in Swan Lake. It's a possibility that she could, because she is a ballerina with a New York City company, but as she gets older she is wondering whether she will ever get the chances to be the lead in anything much now. Her heroine is Beth Macintyre (Winona Ryder), one time protege of the head of the company Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel), but now she has probably danced her last as the word is that he is seeking a new star for his restaging of...

You guessed it, Swan Lake, and Nina wishes she could get to dance the lead. Except, and here's where it gets tricky for her, Leroy wants the same ballerina to perform the wicked Black Swan as the wholesome White Swan. He doesn't think that she has it in her to be as good in the evil role as she is in the nice role, but an encounter where she goes to request he considers her actually makes up his mind to give her a try - of course, she had to bite his lip when he forced her to kiss him, but this is the first chink in Nina's goody-two shoes armour. Basically, we are about to watch her personality be transformed - except we don't, really.

Portman won a host of awards for this, and it was one of the first films where her usual decency which it often seemed she could not help but project even in her morally shaded roles was used in an intriguing fashion. Director Darren Aronofsky was the man tapping that potential, one of his many melodramas that placed his protagonists in extreme situations to test their mettle, except while Pi would have been his science fiction effort in that vein, Black Swan was his horror. In spite of many viewers preferring to see this as a version of ballet classic The Red Shoes for the twenty-first century, and therefore far more respectable, that wasn't the way it played out.

The details familiar to shocker fans - such as the nightmare tone, the gory effects, the identity crisis theme common to many in the chiller genre - marked this out as the heir to something Dario Argento might have made if he were far more arty, but no less delirious in his imaginings, and others saw the influence of anime Perfect Blue, which also owed a debt to Argento. Certainly the manner in which the plot worked itself up into a hysteria lost in the music and the dance could have been all affectation, yet Aronofsky never allowed the material to get away from him, and neither did his cast, numbering among them Barbara Hershey as Nina's controling mother.

Nina is the kind of person whose immaturity means they need some kind of mentor in their lives, and she has never thrown off those shackles until now as the villainous side to her new role dominates. This aspect is embodied in bad girl ballerina Lily (Mila Kunis), who's not really all that conniving, or not as much as Nina is under the illusion she is, but she comes to identify Lily as the ideal Black Swan whereas she struggles with the role. In fact, the trouble with this film was that it was one of those stories to complacently assume that the evil side is far more interesting than the good, whereas a plot that set out a less moral Nina's attempts to be angelic might have been richer, especially in light of the way the ballet on stage ends. As Portman's skilled performance demonstrated, Nina's fragile mental state could just have easily been portrayed the other way as she doesn't change that much, so the feeling that this was all a bit silly and monotonous only grew, as committed as it was to its concept. Music by Clint Mansell.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 3210 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Darren Aronofsky  (1969 - )

American writer and director, whose low budget science fiction film Pi was much praised. He followed it with Requiem for a Dream, an equally intense drug addiction story, with the long-awaited but unsuccessful sci-fi epic The Fountain arriving in 2006. Downbeat drama The Wrestler was Oscar-nominated, suggesting he was fulfilling his early promise, and Natalie Portman won an Oscar for his ballet horror Black Swan. His eccentric Biblical epic Noah met with a mixed reaction to say the least, though that was nothing compared to mother!, his other Bible pic.

 
Review Comments (3)
Posted by:
Darren Jones
Date:
19 Jun 2011
  I was expecting more... something more Requiem for a Dream than Swan Lake. I guess this was cult for the masses, sanitised, and I can't help but wonder if Aronofsky had made this film 10 years ago, would it be the same? I don't think so - I think it'd have been a proper challenge to get through.

Time changes all things I guess, but I think I preferred the old Aronofsky to this new one (in saying that, The Wrestler was good).

Whatever, somehow I can't imagine Portman in Jennifer Connelly's role!
       
Posted by:
Graeme Clark
Date:
19 Jun 2011
  I believe Connelly was actually up for the Portman role in this about ten years ago when it was first going to be made. But even then, having read Black Swan described as Showgirls with ballet I think kitsch might have been a better aim for it than art. Although I did laugh a few times, I wasn't sure if I was supposed to.
       
Posted by:
Andrew Pragasam
Date:
19 Jun 2011
  Ultimately I don't think this says anything The Red Shoes didn't say quite eloquently, but the Italian horror and anime influences (nicely spotted on the latter, Graeme!) made this a suitably stirring and operatic experience. And of course Natalie Portman put in a tour-de-force. I reckon she probably could have pulled off Jennifer Connelly's Requiem role quite well actually.
       


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
  Hannah Prosser
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
  Rachel Franke
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: