Review Corner: "Black Swan"

Black Swan is a film about a dancer, Nina, who wants to be perfect and pushes herself so hard that it drives her crazy. Those around her do not realize how crazy she is becoming as she is placed as the lead in Swan Lake. Her teacher is having her do both the white and black swan, though she’s great as the white swan she’s needs to learn how to be bad and show it for the black swan. The more work she does to perform the black swan, the closer she becomes to insanity.

When I saw the trailer for this movie I was interested. Hearing lines like “She’s out to get me” and seeing her pull a feather out of her back. These things caught my attention. I also read other reviews to see if this movie was going to be worth going to, as I’m not into dancing that much, so I wanted to know if this was worth my time. The reviewers wrote things like “Best Movie of Year” and I thought, wow it may be better than I first thought. So, taking my ticket I went to the movie.

Right away in the movie I noticed the camera work and the use of close ups. The camera was not still, they did not know what a tripod was, when following someone it was as if the camera man was just walking behind them so it was very shaky, and not only were they directly behind them they were following at head and shoulders so we’ve got a shaky close up. This was when I realized that this movie may not be as well put together as the reviewers made me think it would be.

It does not take long for people to realize that the Nina is crazy, as you see and hear things at the beginning of the movie that sets her apart from the real world. She’s scratching her back, though does not remember scratching herself. She’s seeing things that are not real. At one point she’s glancing around for her mom and peeks in her mother’s room, to see her mom’s paintings eyes move watching her. As all this is happening, you’re seeing what she’s seeing, not what others are seeing. So determining what really happened or what was in her mind is not always clear.

The idea of someone after her that was given the feeling in the trailer is not happening at all in the movie. The girl who is picked as her stand in, Lily, is a talented dancer who did try to get along with her. She made one move to try and steal the part from the Nina, but not to totally harm the her. She drugged her. Besides for that, you see her sense of humor and talent in the movie. If I was to choose a favorite character it would be Lily, sneaky yet just trying to reach her own goals as well.

There are two characters in the movie that I would feel fit the role as trouble. The first character is the mother, Erica, who treats Nina like she’s still a child. She undresses her, she cuts her nails, she even sits in the room while Nina is sleeping! Erica is overprotective and will not give her daughter any privacy as even her bedroom door does not have a lock. The other character is the director of the play, Thomas Leroy, as he’s a good teacher and got some great points when in front of other people. He’s a perverted man who wants nothing more than into bed with the girls that he’s teaching. He makes moves upon the Nina, and even gives her the home work to go home and play with herself.

At this point in the movie I realized they were trying to be artsy with showing sex related subjects without the nudity. As they do show Nina playing with herself, they don’t really show the details. This did not help the movie for me at all, we already know she’s a bit crazy though things went more with this. A way to try and make a porno that wasn’t porn. They do have a long sex scene in the movie with two female characters.

We find out after things happened and we take it as in account that it happened, that it did not really happen. It was just in Nina’s mind. By mid movie I realized that the feather stuff I saw in the ads, was going to be something that she made up. The little bit of interest that the trailer gave me faded away. As by this time I also was finding myself sick of all the close ups. They may see this as art, though I personally find it annoying.

Now what I did enjoy was near the end of the movie, they show us the main parts of the Swan Lake production they were putting on, showing Nina’s improvements in her dancing, showing the costumes and sets, as well as the crowd response. Though we’re also seeing this through the Nina’s eyes as she’s even crazier than she was at the beginning of the movie, feathers come from her skin and she has wings on stage. This scene was really well done, not as many close ups and the camera was being held a bit better and it was worth watching. Really it was the best put together scene in the movie, and maybe it’s the thing other reviewers felt deserved the high scores.

With me though a full movie comes together for the score. And seeing Nina crack the way we did just didn’t hold me. I felt like we were loosing out on other good story lines that could of happened. This was not the fault of the actors, they really did hold their part together with the movie and kept us believing they were the characters that they were suppose to be, this is the fault of the script itself along with the camera work, it could have been done better.

Staring in this movie is Natalie Portman as Nina, Mila Kunis as Lily, Vincent Cassel as Thomas Leroy and Barbara Hershey as Erica. Each of them did a great job at playing their characters it’s a shame the camera work was such a pain to my eyes. It was written by Andres Heins, with screenplay work done by Mark Heyman, and John J. McLaughlin.

The person I look upon the most for how this movie turned out is the Director though, Darren Aronofsky. While he had a plot, great actors and even sets, Mr. Aronofsky was to focus on making this an artsy film, and trying to be creative with his camera work. Because of this, I give the movie one thumb down and I would rather not see it again, even if it was aired on TV.

I do say that people should see the movie for themselves to judge if they feel the same way, since a lot of other people have been writing different than I about the movie. Though if you don’t like close ups and a shaky hand behind the camera, than I recommend waiting for it to be on TV before seeing it.

Entertainment Earth

 


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