REVIEW: ‘Black Swan’

Darren Aronofsky
Natalie Portman
Mila Kunis
Vincent Cassel
Barbara Hershey
Winona Ryder
Rated: R

Ballet is now officially scary because of this film.

Black Swan follows the character Nina Sayers (Portman). Nina is a ballet dancer trying to make it big in her career and she gets her chance when the then best dancer Beth (Ryder) is released from the production. Because of this, Nina is given the lead role in the ballet’s production of Swan Lake. This causes her to become excited, yet at the same time nervous, especially with her overbearing mother.

She is also made nervous because of a new dancer named Lily (Kunis) who comes on the scene and is made to be her backup. Because of this, Nina begins to lose her mind and her grip on reality setting up for a very chilling thriller.

In many thrillers and horror films, there are moments of sanctuary where the main character and the audience watching can feel safe and at ease, knowing that nothing bad is probably going to happen.

Black Swan throws that out the window. From start to finish, the entire film has an uncomfortable, chilling atmosphere that keeps a person on edge. There’s always a feeling here that something bad will happen or that a threat will reveal itself. This is mainly thanks to how the movie was filmed, where it becomes hard to tell what is real.

This is created from watching Nina’s decent into madness, providing a great deal of suspense in itself. This was probably because of Natalie Portman putting in one of her best performances she’s done. The way she plays this character is incredible and it was stunning seeing her transformation from a sweet innocent person into this person descending into madness.

While not giving as memorable of a performance as Portman, Kunis still did a fine job, especially playing what was supposed to be the ‘opposite’ of Portman’s character. The other person who put in a frightening performance was Winona Ryder, who was perfectly cold and cunning. The same can be said about Nina’s mother (Hershey), who had her disturbing moments, too.

There was actually surprisingly good special effects for some sections of the film, also. All together, Black Swan is a very well made film that digs deep in the human psyche and pulls out a horrifying thriller. I’m putting it at a really strong 4 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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