Dave White
Black Swan Review

Dave's Rating:


More loon than swan.

Who's In It: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Kassel, Barbara Hershey, Winona Ryder

The Basics: Natalie Portman is a talented, fragile, whisper-voice-only ballerina who lives with a domineering stage mother. She also lives with some creeping-yet-visually sumptuous mental instability. So when she's chosen to dance the lead in Swan Lake, the pressure to be the perfect swan sends her round the bend into Koo-Koo Bananas Land. On her way there she hallucinates, thinks she's growing feathers, self-mutilates, has aggressive crazy sex with Mila Kunis and has fractured-consciousness fights with even nuttier prima ballerina Winona Ryder. She lives in a spinning vortex of fear and unreality and you get to revel in her descent into madness. In other words, see this heartwarming holiday tale with someone special, perhaps an emotionally frail friend that you want to push over the brink.

What's The Deal: Darren Aronofsky is a national movie treasure at this point. His films aren't really art, they're just sort of arthouse by way of funhouse. They're the hall of wavy mirrors photographed with jittery, jolty camera moves and visual shock tactics, sort of like what would happen if people took the Crank movies more seriously. His actors are meat puppets who sign on to play obsessive artists or addicts or some other kind of ruined-mind, ruined-body masochists. And that, of course, is awesome. He fills a niche with movies that aren't necessarily good for you but they taste great going down, the equivalent of snacking greedily at the State Fair on a funnel cake made of sugary broken glass, then puking it back up on the Tilt-a-Whirl.

Everything That's Wrong Is Also Everything That's Right: A movie like this requires intense overacting, so that's what you get with Portman. She looks like she knows better but at the same time has just decided to go for it. There's this deranged face she makes that keeps you watching; it's sort of half erotic breathlessness and half I'm-gonna-stab-myself-here-in-just-a-minute-so-DON'T-CLOSE-YOUR-EYES-IT'S-GONNA-BE-RAD! In an awards-movie season of measured royal warmth and earnest hopeful dramas, we all deserve a tingly trip to hell and back as a nice break from the classiness.

Add It Up: Mulholland Drive minus the genuine heartbreak, Suspiria without actual witches, Repulsion minus Deneuve and Polanski's truly dark vision, Showgirls minus Gina Gershon winking at the camera, The Fountain with no Tree of Life ejaculating all over Hugh Jackman. And then top it off with just a touch of a truly disturbing French movie from a couple years back called In My Skin. It was about a woman who wounds herself intentionally and becomes erotically fixated on her own broken flesh. Weirdly enough, every time I talk about that one to friends they tell me they're never planning to watch it. But you should.

Which Is Crazier? This Or The Nutcracker in 3D? The Nutcracker in 3D, of course. That one has rat-Nazis wearing Andy Warhol wigs. Even Aronofsky isn't that demented.


Comments (7)

Movie Buff - 12-08-2010 3:56 PM
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I really wanted to see this movie. It's too bad about the limited release on it though. Hopefully, it'll do well at the box office and earn a wider release in the begining of next year.

RAY - 1-05-2011 10:49 PM
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ashley - 2-24-2011 5:34 AM
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i agree this film is good and is crazy i heard it was sex fuelled throughout which i wouldnt say though there are a few sexual scenes but none worse than pretty much any sharon stone movie worth watching

Kendra Foyil - 2-26-2011 12:39 PM
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This movie is absolutely awesome, and I hope it wins all the academy awards for which it was nominated, particularly Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actress. It's as dark a movie as I've ever seen in so many respects, but done very very well. It draws you into its darkness and keeps you totally immersed. At the point in the movie where Natalie Portman's character breaks her legs, which we have to assume she hallucinates (or does she?), I was so startled that I jumped out of my seat. I'm not exaggerating. I've never been that drawn into a movie so intensely. The uncanny thing is that I saw it twice, and even with the knowledge of what would happen to her, exactly the same thing happened to me again... I jumped out of my skin. See it!

Ted - 2-26-2011 9:23 PM
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The movie would have been better if it didn't have the lesbian scenrs. There is no place anywhere at anytime for content like that .what's wrong when these movie producers and screen writers today? I know, the same thing that's wrong with this world no morels

christopher - 7-25-2011 11:40 PM
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Black swan, for me was one of those movies you just had to watch more than once. I think more than anything to kind of understand what everything meant. Overall it was a good movie and I would recommend it. The first time I saw it, I picked it up from blockbuster. It’s been years since I’ve been to blockbuster, and almost forgot how much I enjoy renting movies there. Blockbuster includes videogames whereas other companies such as Netflix do not & the movies at Blockbuster come out 28 days before Netflix. Being a customer and employee of DISH Network, I can say that from a consumer stand point that DISH was the way to go for me even before working here. Since the acquisition of Blockbuster, the company has only gotten better! http://bit.ly/l

Helga - 8-14-2011 7:36 AM
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To Ted: Well I think the movie is better the way it is, it's absolutely nothing wrong with lesbian scenes, it's not guy and guy though, it's two beautiful girls making out. In addition almost all drunk women are lesbians)) I think this scene makes the whole movie more versatile, and it's just hallucination, she was with man that night

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