Here’s my video review of the “Black Swan” from KTKA-49.
Ballet is an incredibly demanding art form, both physically and mentally. In Darren Aronofsky’s “Black Swan,” Natalie Portman plays a tortured New York dancer who starts to come apart at the seams once she gets the lead role in Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake.”
Like he did with Mickey Rourke in “The Wrestler,” Aronofsky focuses almost exclusively on his main character—in this case Portman—and the journey/nightmare she goes through to make her dreams come true.
If you ever wanted to know what the stress and pressure of being the center of an enormously prestigious production feels like, this movie makes all that doubt come alive and more. Portman is threatened by a manipulative director, a rising new star, an obsessive mother, and a fallen idol—she’s also haunted by a doppelganger and her own mental and physical limitations.
What Aronofsky makes clear in “Black Swan” is that the mind and the body are often inseparable. As the film slowly takes on more horror elements, we’re left to wonder: Is Portman unraveling or is she triumphantly vaulting the hurdles that prevent her from becoming the “Black Swan”?
Interpret the movie however you like—the one thing you can’t ignore is that “Black Swan” is a thrilling piece of pure cinema.