Find us on facebook

Monday, April 25, 2011

"Black Swan", the darkest of fairy tales

Black Swan

It was hard to put myself in front of this film. To all the Oscar's "white noise" about Portman's tour de force (with the usual physical effort included) I was adding the two previous films from director Darren Aronofsky: the horrible "The Fountain" (among the worst movies of the last 10 years, no question about it) and the spectacular amount of clichés that "The Wrestler" is. So, to say it politely, I was quite reluctant to see "Black Swan". But after I finally did, I can say it was worth it.

Two major factors are the reasons for the overall positive consideration. First, the stunning visual conception of the film, the weight of the details (Nina's toys in her bedroom, her skin, the objects from the almost unrecognisable Wynona Ryder as Beth, to name a few), its gothic and disturbing imagery and the strikingly dreamy, dark and absorbing atmosphere. And second, Natalie Portman's performance, not only because her tortured impersonation of Nina, but also for being capable of showing a childish, immature (to the point of getting you nervous) and extremely fragile character.

Having said that, "Black Swan" has also some important question marks. The main one being, again (sorry to insist with the comparison with "The Fountain") is about the strength of the script. We get attracted to the feverish obsession/dream/descent into hell of Nina, so we know that what we are seeing is her subjective and distorted vision. But the few points of "reality", responsible of providing us with the much needed information to go through the story are either weak or clearly insufficient, so the psycho thriller part is not very strong. The best examples of these could be the roles of the artistic director, Thomas, and Nina's mother, Erica, strongly portrayed by Vincent Cassel and Barbara Hershey. While they serve the purpose of adding more creepiness to the dark and twisted fairy tale, but they don't help to the coherency of the plot, as we know little about their motivations behind their actions.

And linked with that, one cannot avoid wondering if the amount of complexity in Nina's paranoia deserved something more than the simple "Swan Lake" black/white duplicity, developed into the topical part of the film where Nina learns about evil (the "Odile/Black Swan") or in practical terms, lust. My doubt about "Black Swan can be epitomized in the sentence "I just want to be perfect" that Nina repeats a couple of times during the film. Is that genuine innocence or a serious failure of the script, making a mighty powerful character so disappointingly empty? The movie impacts, disturbs and grabs you, but is that a lasting impression? 

SCORE: 6,75/10

No comments:

Post a Comment