An engrossing tale of an artist's pain, in pursuit of passion.
Darren Aronofosky is a filmmaker whose films are a real pain to watch. One cannot watch films like Requiem for a Dream or Wrestler or even this film more than once. Even if they do, they must endure a lot of pain and it's a great challenge to be seeing these movies again. If the performer goes through pain, Darren makes it so visible and physical that it's tough for the audience to sit through that. And that's why I respect Darren Aronofosky more than many contemporary directors. One must have a gut to show the pain as it is being shown, also must have the balance not to make it satirical coz it's genuine pain. Darren Aronofosky achieved that in his endeavours thus far and hope so he does that in future.
See my review of WRESTLER HERE
So that was my appreciation of Darren Aronofosky and his work, now let me talk specifically about this film that's about a Ballad Dancer performer. BLACK SWAN is wicked twin of the WHITE SWAN in the Ballad of SWAN LAKE of the 18th century and the tradition has been continuing since.
Now, over and above the form of art, it's the way the art is pursued with enormous passion. It's the passion of an artist and when one is too very engrossed in art, he may have delusions of grandeur and that's what happiness with Nina (Natalie Portman). She starts to see her other side, as she tries to transform herself to a Black Swan and the transformation is in itself so very insightful. There can be symbolism drawn between the the state of mind of the artist and so many things that we have learnt thus far. Be it a Fyodor Doestovosky's THE DOUBLE or Roman Polanski's ROSEMARY's BABY or TENANT or David Cronenberg's THE FLY. It's the psyche that delves into delusions and makes her physically tiring and even gruesome as there is blood coming out.That's a really interesting take as she keeps seeing herself in such forms as they as she is too passionate about the transformation.
Coming to performances, Natalie Portman as Nina, the white swan and the black swan has given a performance of her lifetime and she certainly deserved to win so many accolades. Vincent Cassel, Mila Kunis have complemented Nina well and have given us something that's arty and yet so real.
The best part, apart from the subject, the direction, the acting of Portman is the background music by CLint Mansell. It haunts us even after the film is done log ago, though it doesn't have a great longevity as Clint Mansell's other work, Requiem For a Dream, it surely has an impact that can be felt for sometime even after the film.
I am going with 4/5 for a movie that resonates the pain of an artist, rather a passionate artist and what one has to go through to accomplish their dream.