He has this amazing ability to take things that the rest of us see, experience, take in, on a daily basis and twist them into the absurd, the grotesque, the plain and simple strange. “Black Swan” is his latest creation to do so, by taking the ever so familiar ballet Swan Lake, and turning it inside out, creating a sense of dysfunction, disorder, and and chaos that leaves the viewer marveling at the beauty yet somehow catapulted by the results. By focusing on the pre-production, the rehearsal and staging of the ballet, Swan Lake in itself becomes a macabre character in this plot of twists and turns, psychological horror and myopic characters solely fixed on their own goals. His use of mirrors to accentuate and deepen the madness is a brilliant move, allowing the characters to see within themselves through the reflection; his use of chiaroscuro allows for depth in character, both freeing and exposing yet vastly dark and hidden, giving the audience mere glimpses at first of the darkness seething below.
This would be all for naught without the amazing work of Natalie Portman. I dare say she has entered the “Heath Ledger” zone for character, commitment, and transformation with her role. The level of commitment is evident every time she dances; the time, effort, and dedication it takes to work ones self into the shape to dance and move like she did is beyond my very comprehension. Her character, and its transition from beginning to end is nothing short of amazing; to witness her shift is heart breaking and breath taking, delving so far into the character it is near impossible to see where the swans end and she begins.
It seems like every year I come across a film that hits all my heart strings, playing a beautiful chord within me. Visually stunning, beautiful acting, acute and precise directing, solid editing, and accentuated by the most lovely use of sound. Though more like “Requiem for a Dream” then “The Wrestler”, Aronofsky has a dark, yet sensual style to his film making that few will imitate, but none will emulate.
I think I might have found the perfect film for the 2011 Oscars.
Next: The Fighter