How far would you go for perfection? Black Swan poses this question and many more set against backdrop of the competitive world of a New York ballet company. This superb psychological thriller from Darren Aronofsky stars Natlie Portman and Mila Kunis who both radiate an erotic energy and sensuality that ignites the screen.
When Nina (Portman) lands the lead role in Swan Lake her elation soon turns to a crushing sense of fear and paranoia. But is there really a threat, or is it all in her head? When a newcomer to the company, Lily (Kunis), attempts to befriend Nina, she sees it as more of a threat to her career than as an invitation of friendship. Will Nina’s own mind lead her down a path of destruction on her quest for perfection?
There were several things that stood out to me in this film. First the musical score is fantastic in its heightened melodramatic tone. This fits nicely with the film that at times falls into melodrama in terms of the actors’ performances.
Here, however, it works due to the film’s backdrop and the melodrama that comes from a ballet like Swan Lake. While there are times that feel as if you’re watching an ABC Family series about the world of competitive ballet, it doesn’t detract from the overall experience.
The sound design is superb. How sound is utilized in the film draws so much attention to the minute details of ballet that you’ll be mesmerized by the tiniest detail. Nina prepping her ballet shoes, popping her toes and ankles, small noises that have a big impact on the overall world of the film.
Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis deliver fantastic performances, and Winona Ryder’s role is haunting and brilliant as well. These three actresses give Oscar-worthy performances throughout the film and if at least one of them doesn’t get a nomination I would be surprised.
And the “controversial” scene between Portman and Kunis is a must-see as well! Just wish it had been longer and in 3D.
Black Swan’s use of mirrors, visual tricks, fingers, toes, and sharp objects will make you jump and cringe over the course of the movie. So many great metaphoric images related to perfection and obsession are presented that you may have to see it again to truly appreciate with the director has done here.
Black Swan is a solid contender this award’s season and a shining example of how good a psychological thriller can be. Portman, Kunis, and company are amazing and I highly recommend this film.
Black Swan is in select theaters NOW!