As the 2010 Savannah Film Festival opener, much was expected of this psychological thriller revolving around the New York City Ballet.
“Black Swan” takes us on a journey through the life of Nina, played by Natalie Portman, and the pressures she endures as an esteemed dancer of the New York City Ballet.
Portman embodies the graceful, soft nature of a dancer in her provocative, modern interpretation of the black swan.
In her fight for perfection, she is overcome by the inability to embody her role as the black swan.
The viewer is instantly drawn in with a dark duet performed by Nina as the swan queen and a dark creature in a scene from the ballet. This lays a strong foundation for what can be expected of the next 103 minutes.
The plot builds steadily from the start, as Nina moves from her stable frame of mind, closely resembling the innocence of the white swan, to experiencing more severe hallucinations as opening night draws near.
As she begins her journey towards attaining success, her reality falls apart. Differentiating her reality and this nightmare becomes a greater struggle than expected.
An ominous tone is interweaved throughout the film, keeping the audience in a constant state of anticipation, which is the obvious nature of thrillers.
From various groans and screeches of the audience, each moment was more shocking that its predecessor. However, the intense nature of the film was cleverly relieved with humor in the form of sexual innuendos. This prevents the viewer from being overwhelmed with the monotony of typical points touched in many films of this genre.
Unlike her witty roles in “V for Vendetta” and “The Other Boleyn Girl,” Portman carries the viewer through her emotions as her calm spirited persona is forced into inner battle with herself.
Interactions between Nina and her mother, as well as between her instructor seem peculiar, but their awkward behavior allows the viewer to absorb characteristics that may be found in competitive ballet schools. These traits allow her character to become increasingly more relatable.
This reaches the pinnacle near the end of the film, as the occurrences in Nina’s reality paralleled the plot of the ballet, where the white swan eventually faces her demise.
Though it is necessary to focus entirely on the film to avoid losing track of the close boundaries shared between reality and hallucinations, it is near impossible to remove yourself from this thriller, unless your squeamish qualities overpower your desire to know what new occurrences will be unveiled.
If this film was to be described in one word, it would be difficult, as many emotions surface as you leave the theater.
Overwhelmed, bewildered and ecstatic instantly come to mind but regardless of the emotion, there is no doubt that you will feel something after seeing this twisted film.
Click here for other viewers’ thoughts on “Black Swan.”Contact Chantelle Emery.