This week's must-see DVD/BD, and why we're lovin' it.
What? Black Swan
Who? Directed by Darren Aronofsky and starring Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel, Barbara Hershey and Winona Ryder
Why? Who knew the cutthroat world of ballet was so…frightening? Natalie Portman plays Nina, a competitive ballerina living in New York City with her creepy, overprotective stage mom (Barbara Hershey). When artistic director Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel) decides to replace aging prima donna Beth MacIntyre (Winona Ryder) with new blood in his production of Swan Lake, Nina is the natural first choice. Her precision and purity are perfect qualities for the White Swan, but Thomas is concerned she is too icy and restrained to tap into the Black Swan's carnality (brace yourself for the sexual awakening of the century).
Enter Lily (Mila Kunis), a fiery, free-spirited and fearless new dancer who embodies all the qualities that Nina must channel to play the Black Swan. The two spark up a twisted friendship that forces Nina to face her fears and the forces holding her back. Her quick evolution from a fragile, porcelain-like dancer to a full-feathered fright in the final number will either make your jaw drop or nervously laugh uncontrollably, but you'll never forget it either way.
is part drama, part delirious horror freak show by way of Dario Argento, and 100 percent riveting. Portman's transformation from a prissy ballerina into an Ecstasy-swallowing, mama-defying, plush animal-destroying woman who has angry lesbian drug sex with Kunis helped her deservedly win the Oscar for Best Actress this year. Darren Aronofsky, who previously directed surreal mind-benders like The Fountain
and Requiem for a Dream
, combines those films' dreamlike style with The Wrestler
's dramatic weight for the ultimate ballet thriller that you didn't know you'd ever want to sign up to see. By the time Portman is pulling little feathers out of her skin and her eyes have turned angry red like a bird's, she will have pulled you down into her psychosexual nightmare with her. All you can do is helplessly observe Portman lose her grasp on reality and wait for her to finally spread her wings and soar in the role of her life.
What Else? Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain "Metamorphosis: A Three-Part Series," a behind-the-scenes look at the directing, acting and special effects of Black Swan. Blu-ray exclusives include a featurette on the film's costume design, "Ten Years in the Making," and interviews with the cast presented by Fox Movie Channel.