Review: Black Swan

Black Swan is that kind of movie that deserves a second and maybe a third viewing, not just for its complex narrative, but also for the impressive level of details which expose the nature and persona of it’s main character. The classic duality between light and dark is the narrative’s central focus point, that follows hardworker ballerina Nina Sayers.

Having been chosen for the lead role in Swan Lake, Nina must please her ambitious director Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel, great) by translating for the dance, the gracious persona of the White Swan, and, simultaneously, the sensuality of the Black Swan.

The dilema: Nina just can’t dance the Black Swan. She’s the White Swan in its faitful physical incorporation; Natalie Portman’s amazing performance enphasizes those traces by showing the girl as fragile, gracious and, everytime someting goes wrong, giving the impression she could collapse in tears; a clear produce of her near-child life; the pink stuffed animals and her mothers (Barbara Hershey) constant attention. There’re lots of great details that contribute to what is Natalie Portman’s greatest performance of her carreer.

This first act about the White Swan is pleasent and sweet, almost feeling like a Disney princess tale (a tense tale, obviously), however, the viewer never forgets he’s in a Darren Aronofsky movie. Displaying his traditional dark vision and complete immersion on the characters life, it’s striking to watch as he prepares ground for a psychological destruction.

Through the Looking Glass

While Nina’s virginal and gracious, newcomer Lily (Mila Kunis from That’ 7os Show) is exactly the oposite: sensual, provocative and agressive, features seen either on her dance style as on her personal life (drugs, balads and boys), what makes the girl perfect for the Black Swan role. The character’s profile is pictured with charisma and devotion by Kunis, who proves to be more than just a (very) cute face.

It’s truly wonderful to observe the simbolic details. Nina’s transition to the “dark side” can be represented by the plan where she puts a black shirt – given by Lily -, but without removing her previously white blouse, which clearly stereotypes that, even in a dark stage, the battle within her continues; manifesting through Matthew Libatique’s brilliant cinematography, which uses mirrors and reflexes genially, either as a dramatic contribution to Nina’s quest for perfection (in some scenes, we can see action and reaction thanks to the mirror) either as the previously mentioned duality.

The contrast between black and white isn’t forgotten not even at the controversial sex scene between the lead actress; during the act, Nina wears white underwears, while Lily uses only black. Even by questionating the verosity of such events (believe it, reality and allucination get excessively confused over the film), they are important in Nina’s scary transformation (the feather in her backs seen in the trailer is only the begining…), resulting on a disturbing creation during an unforgettable final dance.

Playing tricks on the viewer’s mind along the whole movie, Black Swan is an unique portrayal of the dark vs. light duality, by Darren Aronofsky’s oniric vision, the ballet world gets a dark version and Natalie Portman gives her best performance yet.

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