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A sharp, claustrophobic thriller - this is no fairy tale
Black Swan (DVD)
Member Name: IzzyS
Black Swan (DVD)
Advantages: Tense/gripping, use of score and camerawork
Disadvantages: Some unsettling scenes, CGI over exaggerates things
Black Swan tells the story of Nina Sayers, a ballerina based in New York who is surprised to learn that she's been given the benefit of the doubt and awarded the top role of the queen swan or white swan for the new production of Swan Lake - however this comes at quite a price, as things seem to take a distinctly sinister turn soon after. She starts to feel that others, including a new ballet dancer called Lily, is out to replace her but is it all in her mind? can she really handle all the pressure involved? you'll have to watch the movie to find out.
- Thoughts & Opinions -
This is yet another very tense movie, which is quite absorbing given the use of the applicable classical score to heighten said tension. Also again this movie is very much not for the squeamish, I admit I found myself wincing and wanting to look away on ocassion, guessing what was going to happen, which I'll mention a bit more about later on in this review.
The relationship between Nina and her trainer Thomas is quite clearly strained - his advances being not wanted at first, though as Nina becomes more drawn into the world of ballet through being given the prestiguous queen swan role, she sees things differently, I suppose.
Its really quite a claustrophobic movie I feel, the characters having different agendas and Nina finding herself lost - it seems clear whats going on at first but slowly we realise that something more sinister is at hand, which makes you question what you see.
The camerawork is done in such a way that makes it feel more realistic, following behind her (in a documentary sort of style I suppose) with rough, jagged movement as she walks or runs down the corridors at the ballet school. These jagged type movements are matched by smoother, more 'direct/professional' type shots highlighting scenes while the play is taking place on stage and during rehearsals.
This movie includes multiple scenes with blood and what could be perceived as self harm, so be aware of that - this is one reason why I winced a little as mentioned earlier on.
As you can tell, its quite a dark and depressing movie but its quite gripping and it certainly leaves you questioning things and guessing - at one hour and forty minutes in length, its a good length as well, not too padded out yet not entirely rushed either.
I felt that the cast did well in their character portrayals, both good and bad, they were quite convincing. I'm aware that Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis have been the two main cast members that have received praise in the media etc. for this movie (at least as far as I remember hearing anyway), so instead in this review I'd like to single out Vincent Cassel, who plays Thomas Leroy, Nina's trainer. He has quite a sinister look about him and I felt he was particularly well portrayed.
It did have the feel of a well made movie, its just not one that everyone will necessarily enjoy - there are scenes of a sexual nature which could easily embarrass some (this is probably not a title you'd want to watch with your parents) and also I should probably add that there are both scenes of heterosexual and homosexual acts if but brief and mainly hinted at I suppose, so yes this isn't for everyone quite clearly but, as with others, for what it is, I thought it was competently made.
I'd also like to add that its more about Nina as a character than the world of ballet itself, though its her newly earnt title in this particularly all-or-nothing type world which leads her to her ultimate journey - of couse if you know the rough story, you should be ok with that though.
I felt that the movie finished with a pleasing crescendo (as such) which was a fitting ending - I suppose its up to you to decide how much of what we see is indeed reality but I thought it was fairly impressive anyway. Now whether I think its worth all the awars and praise it received it perhaps debatable, I'm not sure I'd say its entirely excellent somehow but I'd certainly say its very good. One thing I wasn't entirely keen on was ocassional use of CGI, which I felt was a bit over the top somehow, they were perhaps getting a little carried away adding those parts, although I suppose they do their 'job' to question, or highlight, Nina's state of mind at that particular mind.
This is a movie you have to concentrate on to become pulled into Nina's world and to try to dissect what's going on and what she's seeing - I think this movie probably would live up to multiple viewings, which is a plus.
- Would I Recommend It? -
Yes, I'd recommend this movie - its competently made with good character portrayals, its quite gripping and absorbing and you don't have to necessarily be a big fan of ballet to enjoy the movie, I reckon. On the negative side, there are scenes which some people will find distressing, including scenes of cutting/blood and perceived self harm as well as scenes of a sexual nature and also I wasn't particularly keen on the odd use of CGI for some reason, so I'm marking it down slightly for that but otherwise I would recommend it.
Thanks for reading my review, I hope that you found it useful and I'd like to say thanks for all rates and comments.
Summary: An engrossing thriller thats worth a watch, though not entirely perfect