Saturday, 19 April 2014

So I have a Letterboxd account now. I first saw the film-based social network a couple of months ago and thought "eh, maybe later" but this week had an immense amount of uni work to do, so signed up for it. I've been keeping a loose personal film diary for a while, but hopefully letting my thoughts be more open to public scrutiny will push me to make them be better, as thoughts go. Or I'll forget to ever use it again. The point is, it's encouraged me to write up short reviews of everything I watch, and those reviews which end up being medium as opposed to short might as well be posted here too.

Anyway, I watched Black Swan last night...

I can’t say ballet’s ever appealed to me. Watching dance isn’t my ideal evening, and what it does to toes is just icky.

Nevertheless, the bitchy and ruthless behind the scenes goings-on at a production of Swan Lake is the perfect setting for a Darren Aronofsky film – Black Swan isn’t about ballet, it’s about obsession and psychological turmoil. Like Pi and The Wrestler, this film follows a character who becomes so obsessed with something to the point of psychological ruin (the ending in particular is very comparable to that of The Wrestler).

It’s an intense and unrelenting film in which Natalie Portman’s meek Nina is oppressed by all around her, from her overbearing mother to her promiscuous rival, as she tries to find the rebellious black swan within herself. As her story reflects that of Swan Lake, Aronofsky’s edgy direction reflects the ballet, with powerful orchestral music drawing scenes together and Matthew Libatique’s rough yet fluid camerawork, as intrinsically part of the dance as it is part of the psychology, dancing around the characters majestically and synching gracefully with the tense emotional beats. 

Combined with Portman’s fierce performance, this all creates a restless yet exquisite drama that continues to surprise and is hard to take your eyes away from. Except for the shots of battered toes. Ugh…


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