Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Black Swan (Spoiler)

Fight club and American Psycho meets the Ballet. Or better put: Black Swan holds a promise of lesbian love affair to lure you in for a mind fuck that will leave you wondering if Tyler Durden had a sex change just so he could do Christian Bale.

Right of the bat: Natalie Portman's performance was wonderful. She captured a disturbed woman on the breaking point from crying to laughter to fear and back again without seeming forced ever. She captures a frail insecurity that looked so sincere I would have to guess she was drawing from her own personal experiences to be that authentic.

The entire movie is dark, gritty, and constantly drives home the point of instability. The never ending unstable camera angle. The colors are constantly at war with each other. Every scene seems to be chosen to bring out a specific mood. The fluffy pink bedroom to the black dressing room.

One aspect I thoroughly enjoyed of the film was how well they portrayed the breaking point of the main character. The character started out with high levels of stress and a constant portrayal of perfectionism. Then the stresses were added bit by bit, like a damn that is at its threshold.

First was the mother. Mommy dearest would be a better term for how she controlled and manipulated her daughters life and drive and caused for order. The main character was in her twenties and still being tucked into bed in a pink bedroom with stuffed animals and a music box. Mom represents the constant controlling aspect of her life, the super-ego of her psyche (for those Freudian fans).

Second was the Director. He was the start of her transformation and downfall. He picked her to be the Swan Queen; her life's dream or the dream her mom (former ballerina) pushed upon her life. The director is just that in her life and her psyche, a temptation, a driving force, something to achieve and get. Almost like trying to please a demanding father figure (her father is lacking in the movie with no explanation).

Third was Mila Kunis. Mila was the new upstart to the company, the one challenging Nina (main character) to relax. Mila was the perfect representation of the id and the demand to fulfill the now. Mila helps Natalie undo her uptight nature and this is when the dams cracks start to really show up. From this point on in the movie it is a nonstop crushing twist of uncertainty and hallucinations.

To put in a quick summation (and will fail): Natalie Portman portrays a woman who's never ending perfectionism forced by her mother drives her over the edge with the cracks in her own psyche eventually tearing her to pieces all to fulfill her mother's dream for her to be a great ballerina. This under-riding current of desire to become the perfect Swan Queen and embody both aspects the White Swan and the Black Swan drives Natalie's character so far beyond her safe boundaries that the only way she can become what she desires or what her mom desires for her is to forgo all preconceptions she has. This dichotomy in her mind is a constant of two warring factions demanding control and the victim is both of them in the end. The only victors in this scenario are the audience for whom she performed the perfect play and the audience in the theater who went along for the ride.

This movie is extremely enjoyable and I plan on buying it on DVD when it comes out.

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