Sunday, January 16, 2011

"Black Swan:" A review

Continuing on our pre-Oscar film tour, a few evenings ago we saw Black Swan.To paraphrase someone who wrote a lot better than I ever will: it's a lot of sound & fury signifying very little. In other words, if you want to see a great ballet film, rent The Red Shoes. However before I say anything else it's really important to point out that Natalie Portman gives a magnificent performance as Nina the newly anointed prima ballerina of a New York ballet company, which is about to perform Swan Lake. (Portman's performance should compete neck-and-neck with Jennifer Lawrence in Winter's Bone)

The plot of the film lies in ballet master Thomas Leroy's (Vincent Cassel) struggle to get the virginal introverted Nina (perfect for the White Swan) to come out of her shell and express the sexuality and dominance of the Black Swan. It seems to me that this confuses an actor or dancer's life experience with what they can perform. But the core of the film is the disintegration of Nina's personality. Unfortunately because you never meet her before her crisis ensues, it's very hard to relate to her and care about what happens to her. Sometimes it's hard to tell what's real and what's nightmare in Nina's life. I think most of them begin with a real moment which Nina then turns into a horror focused on herself. I would like to think that real people are far more complex than the stereotypical characters in this film. Perhaps the best way to conclude this review is to say: If you want to see All About Eve, rent it. It's about real people.

Image Credit: Niko Tavernise

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