The theme in the Information Store for the last couple of weeks has been around looking great and feeling great, so the DVD review for this week is Black Swan a psychological thriller/horror addressing the themes of deteriorating mental and physical health. Directed by Darren Aranofsky and starring Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis, this film will be sure to raise even the most reluctant hairs on the back of your neck.
Nina (Portman) is a professional ballet dancer who is desperate to be cast as the White Swan in her dance group’s latest production of Swan Lake. She is the perfect ballerina. She’s disciplined, elegant, pure and beautiful and encompasses everything the White Swan represents. Her problem is portraying the White Swan’s darker counterpart – the Black Swan. Her innocence and purity makes it impossible for her to unlock her inner darkness so she can ‘become’ the Black Swan. She lives and breathes ballet and the production’s director, Thomas (Vincent Cassell), refuses to give her the role of the Swan if she cannot become the White and Black Swan equally. Lily (Kunis) is a new ballerina and she is everything Nina is not. She is dark, edgy and dangerous as well as an outstanding ballerina and her jealousy and rivalry becomes more intensified as she loses grip on reality and slips into the darkness she so desperately desires.
As well as having a captivating story, Black Swan uses various thematic devices to evoke fear in the audience, Aranofsky’s use of mirrors is especially interesting as he uses this to portray the war Nina is having with her own personality. Her body and mind starts dissolving and descending into madness as obsession and desire overtakes everything else. As she welcomes the darkness into her life, it quickly takes hold of her soul, wrapping her in the blackened wings of the swan she is so desperate to become.
The music, choreography and skill of the performance itself is breath taking and will have you firmly glued to your seat, it’s as intense as it is terrifying and the performances from Portman, Kunis and Cassell exceeds the brilliance of the direction.
Not for the faint hearted but perfect for those who fancy something a bit different and a bit challenging.
Black Swan is shelved in the DVD ZONE at 791.43 B