Is Black Swan one of the best movies of the year, as so many critics seem to be saying? Well, yes and no.
Darren Aranofsky is a great filmmaker, but his movies tend to be too much on the cerebral side of things for most moviegoers, who seem to prefer a good time at the cinema as opposed to depressing thoughtfests. I thought The Wrestler was amazing. I thought Requiem for a Dream was profoundly disturbing. He's the kind of director that I love. His movies always evoke emotion, and they usually have a way of unsettling the audience, whether mentally or emotionally. Plus, he has great style.
I really loved Black Swan although it pulls one of the movie tricks that I tend to hate; think Shutter Island, The Village, or Haute Tension... that's as much as I care to spoil. Not that I need conventional and straight forward all the time, but I don't like being duped so much. It didn't bother me so much here, but maybe I wanted to see a hot chick morph into a black swan and go on a killing spree... would that be so bad?
It's really the movie about the unraveling of a persons sanity, and how striving for perfection can destroy you. Natalie Portman's Nina is a sympathetic character who strives so hard for perfection, that she actually finds herself becoming a black swan. Kind of. For Nina, reality and fantasy blur together in a mix of blood and physical transfiguration, that in the end becomes a metaphor for obsession. I think. Deep concepts tend to elude me...
There are horror elements in the movie, and some bloody moments that made me cringe, but the true horror of the movie runs far deeper that pulling nails from digits and bloody murder. It's a thing of beauty really, and if you don't go into it expecting a monster fantasy tale, then I can't see how most people won't like it. Portman is mesmerizing as the "on her way to crazy" Nina, and Mila Kunis is evil as her friend/nemesis, Lily. As usual, Vincent Cassel is manages to be creepy and evoke my hate, because he plays creeps so damned well. This is definitely an actors movie.
As with most of Aranofsky's movies, the sexuality is potent and important. In Black Swan, we not only get Natalie Portman Jilling off in the cowgirl position, but she and Mila Kunis have a crazy scissor kiss scene that really will go down as one of the best girl-girl moments ever committed to film. As exploitative as it may all seem, both scenes are actually important to the story (and my pants.)
Come Oscar time, there's no doubt that Black Swan will be taking its share of bows. At the very least, it's a great movie that deserves to be seen, and not because it seems to be the seasons critical darling. It's good, evocative, eerie, thoughtful, and most importantly, it has some hot lesbo action that will make you smile... unless you're a gay guy or prude. Even then, you have to at least appreciate the beauty of it all, don't you?
Either way, it's nice to see a high brow "horror" flick being so well received.
A Go see it, and enjoy.