Certainly one of the best directors of our time, Darren Aronofsky (Pi, Requiem for a Dream) calls his latest masterpiece Black Swan , a companion piece to his Mickey Rourke starrer The Wrestler. In the words of Aronofsky himself, "They are really connected and people will see the connections. It's funny, because wrestling some consider the lowest art — if they would even call it art — and ballet some people consider the highest art. But what was amazing to me was how similar the performers in both of these worlds are. They both make incredible use of their bodies to express themselves. They're both performers."
Black Swan follows the story of its protagonist, Nina (stunningly played by the brilliant Natalie Portman) a beautiful, young and graceful ballerina. She is innocent, her body and mind under-nourished, she is pure, immature. She is closed in a shell, imprisoned by a smother-mother, who appears to be sweet. Nina cannot lose herself, she cannot be aggressive. She is too polite to even act bad. That is where her ballet director Thomas, thinks she will play the White Swan perfectly, but lacks the aggression that is required to play the Black Swan in their reprise of the "Swan Lake". Thomas also thinks that Lily (Mila Kunis) and her approach to life and dance suits the role of the Black Swan.
The movie touches various complexities in an artist. A sort of narcissism that attracts an artist to himself and also self loathing that repels. Aronofsky makes brilliant use of hallucinations, mirror images and twins to express this fight of one with his own self. He doesn't shy away to incorporate torn ligaments, skipped meals, straining limbs to portray the difficulty of the art and also he does not miss to show us the grace and beauty involved on the outside. This basic theme of good vs.evil, the white vs. black , of the 'Swan Lake' also sees incorporated in the narrative.
The claustrophobic sound editing and Matthew Libatique's capturing cinematography, makes the audience feel the fears and the pains of the protagonist. Everyone pulls off an admirable performance as far as acting is concerned, but Natalie Portman shines and holds the film like none other. Not only her ballet is perfect, but her effortless performance takes you closer to the protagonist.
Nominated in 5 major categories in the Academy and a good run at BAFTA and Golden Globes, Black Swan promises to pull off a good show! The Acting honor for Natalie Portman looks the most certain but could also give a tough fight for the editing and the cinematography.
This is a movie that is absolutely gratifying thanks to Aronofsky's sublime touch.