Obsession can make people do anything. Obsession for something can make you go mad for it and Darren Aronofsky shows it brilliantly in Black Swan. Like his previous film The Wrestler, Darren shows emotions with pain and grit with it. He shows the two sides of a coin. In Wrestles he showed the life of a fighter on the ring and off the ring. Same way in Black Swan he shows the intense physical and psychological pressure the protagonist goes through.
Black Swan is story of Nina Sayers , a ballerina beautifully played by Natalie Portman. She ballet’s with New York City ballet company and lives with her overprotective mother. Thomas Leroy played by Vincent Cassel decides to take a new star for his production of Swan Lake where Nina seems a perfect fit for the role of timid and virginal White Swan. But in order to bag the role, Nina must also be able to play the dark, seductive Black Swan for which Nina’s main competition is Lily, played by Mila Kunis. Nina, determined to grab hold of the black swan role goes lengths and the breaks down boundaries of her world, both physically and mentally which leads to the end.
Compared to his previous movies like The Fountain or Requiem for a Dream or The Wrestler, this one goes a notch darker. As the night of the performance comes nearer, the self imposed pressure on Nina escalates. What looked like a neuroses converts into a much darker psychosis. Nina hallucinates, loses her mind. Her obsession takes over her and she grows increasingly paranoid. At one hand she is losing herself mentally on the other hand she is dancing better and better thanks to her hard work or her obsession. The movie grows darker with frame and Nina’s changing emotions and mental state where she begins destroying herself for something which she considered her dream. Natalie Portman, is simply brilliant in the ballerina’s role. The way she changes from innocent to edged, mousy to fearless, light to dark, is not just gripping but also depressing. She will move you but also make you pity her. She acts composed and then loses it brilliantly. Portman performs once in a lifetime role.
Black Swan is an instant guilty pleasure, a gorgeously shot, visually complex film which is as black and dark as it can be. Aronofsky weaves together a web of reality and dream that we are never quite sure what’s real and what’s not at times. Postural of bloodied bent toe wrapped beneath the silken ballet shoe is amazingly used as a metaphor for concealed pain. Aronofsky has used these kind of cinematic metaphors all over the movie. Black Swan and The Wrestler began as the same project. Originally, the wrestler was to fall in love with a ballerina. Fascinated by the dual character in the ballet Swan Lake, Aronofsky decides to make this as a psychological thriller than a dark love story. He takes you insides Nina’s world and makes you feel the suffering and obsession she is going through. Makes you go through the pain, stress and pressure. Tattoos comes to life to haunt and paintings becomes real. Aronofsky shows his obsession with darkness, pain and human mind. He plays with it brilliantly. Aronofsky with the cinematographer Matthew Libatique creates a world full of red, white and black. Attention to the detail is just perfect.
Some says that Nina has been portrayed too victimized but I think the people who have gone through this kind of pressure will relate it. I know such kind of obsessions are possible and those nervous breakdowns do happen. Black Swan is an Opera. Black Swan is moving. The movie is an orgy of passion, emotion, ambition, pain and obsession. This movie is Dark and how. This isn’t a movie for everyone. Once you see Nina clipping her nails, you will definitely never think of clipping your nails again. The movie is a well balance of amazing cinematography, brilliant script, great background score and even better story telling. A winner in itself.
Rating- 4.5 out of 5