The last time I got my mind f***** over was when I watched Inception and in the review I made of it, I mentioned I rarely get to feel that over a movie. But, alas, once more I find the same mind of mine in the same state . . . this time over Black Swan.
It took me like a real long while to get my hands on that epic movie, only to find myself squirming and half-shrieking over all those nail-pulling and knife-slashing scenes. And, well, promising to get ready to watch it for a second time.
Until now, though, I haven’t made up my mind on the film. Black Swan is as complicated as its story, as complex as the characters, and as raw as its physicality.
It is a story about a ballerina, Nina Sayers, who gets obsessed over winning the role of Swan Queen for the new production of the ballet company she belongs to. To get the role, she has to be able to dance both the White and the Black Swan characters–opposites in the extreme, thus requiring dual personifications. Swan Lake’s (the production) director Thomas Leroy pushes Nina hard enough as she is already perfect to play the White Swan–hence, she only has to master being the Black, evil, twin Swan and then she’s off to queenship.
But the pressure, not altogether helped by new ballerina Lily who Nina thinks is on to get the role from her by any means, soon turns itself against the prime dancer. She begins seeing lucid, sexual, and often violent hallucinations on top of waking up everyday to a fresh-bloodied scratched skin.
The film revolves around these hallucinations and what happens in between as much as Nina’s foray into both her reality and black alter-ego. Ultimately, the end comes in a fashion that is both shocking and riotously reeling. With such an artful delivery, Black Swan defies a number of suspense-thrillers and retains for itself the kind of movie people are rarely treated to nowadays.
When we begin to discuss the technicalities of a film, I prefer to bail. However, I have quite a number of points to make over the creation of Black Swan‘s that just this time, allow me to talk kind-of like someone who knows what she’s talking about.
The camera shots are just beautiful. With close-ups and full-blowns and pannings that covered most dances in a seamless fashion, the men behind the film did not let anyone miss on anything. I loved how dramatic the scenes were made albeit the seeming regularity of the settings. Although of course I would have done better without the leg-slashings and nail-pullings, I still think that the camera plays were widely helpful in making the story as fluid and clear as possible.
But the part that worked best for me? The musical score. It’s seriously creepy with the right amount of silence. I am always partial to scores that allow me to hear most of the story’s sounds, and Black Swan did just that.
On top of everything else, I think Black Swan is gifted with the most talented of backstage crews and stunt doubles (whatever the issues are). It is a movie that very much transcends both a big-prod and an indie: artistic and utterly realistic.
Enough with the technicals. Let’s be more, er, person-al. And take a lot of look at the hits and misses of Black Swan‘s superbly applauded cast.
Natalie Portman as Nina Sayers
As Nina Sayers
The lady looked really hot in her scenes, still or moving. She has an exceptionally-beautiful face that articulates emotions well enough to captivate an audience.
As the White Swan
Her dancing, whether or not she did it on her own, is also what it’s supposed to be: rigid and technical. But when she did the performance scenes where she had to actually dance the swans, she’s fantastic. ‘Nuff said, right?
As the Black Swan
Mila Kunis as Lily
I must admit it’s in Black Swan that I actually and truly saw who Mila Kunis is and how she delivers. And boy was she good! She’s an instant hit for me, the girl with the small role who made it big enough for the world. I like the way she carried herself in the movie, how she spoke with a husky voice, and her inexplicably deep eyes. Ultimately, there’s nothing left to say except that I’m gonna find more of Mila’s film and indulge in her prowess again and again.
Winona Ryder as Beth Macintyre
As Beth Macintyre
I’ve missed Winona Ryder a number of times and then suddenly she’s back, with dripping mascara and a broken leg. She’s still good, but the smallness of her role is a seeming miss when showcasing what she has is considered. Just that, although I still love her face–even more because of the years she’s put in.
Vincent Cassel as Thomas Leroy
Learning His Role as Thomas Leroy
The mean director with a pea-sized brain for understanding. He’s got an extremely powerful stance, with the knowledge of the arts that makes any artist wanting to get the best first impression from him. I would probably love Leroy’s character if he had shown leniency in Sayer’s role at the middle of the story. For me, he’s the only one who could have saved everything but then he turned away.
I liked Cassel’s way of delivering his lines–stoic and plainly hurtful. I also liked his expressions, minute and wide. If it all comes to re-choosing the cast, I’d go for him over and over.
On the Whole
Probably what’s best about Black Swan is the fact that it’s not like any suspense-thriller that gives out bluntly the answer to its mystery. The film did the exact opposite, it was a question through and through with clues until the very end. Even the finale leaves its audience hanging enough to make them want to see the whole thing again . . . and again, at least until they understand the entire thing.
And even if you understand the story, there’s still one more thing that would leave you floating around without an answer: why?
Photos from: Rotten Tomatoes