In contrast to other reviews you may have read, I will give an unpretentious and honest assessment of Black Swan. It should have been more accurately entitled ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’, since it is devoid of any meaningful content and has been feted by reviewers who really ought to know better. Why did some studio exec, possibly the same one that refused to fund far better projects, not put a brake on this sorry venture and send the movie straight out to DVD?
True, it looks stylish (though the insistence on using hand-held camera for long periods has a tendency to make the user feel seasick), but is essentially meaningless tosh. Worse than that, at key moments it is laughably awful. This is supposed to be a disturbing psychological thriller but fails miserably at that and every other level.
Natalie Portman emotes like her life depends on it. The best advice ever given to young actors is to be still and to act for the screen in minute gestures. Alas, Portman forgets this advice entirely and dives into the locker of ham acting techniques – though who can blame her, faced with a ripely stilted script and director Aronofsky’s clumsy handling of his denouement, which says nothing and was foreseeable through the entire film.
In fact, I’m struggling to think of anything he does well. His sex scenes are fumblingly unerotic and he uses the hoariest of cliches there and elsewhere as if he had just dreamed them up (yes, including dream sequences.)
As for Vincent Cassel and Winona Ryder, they look totally embarrassed to be there, and they too should have known better. This was evidently a performance for paying the mortgage.
Ignore the accolades. This is truly a movie worthy of the Razzies. Please, please do not buy it on DVD and if you were thinking of venturing out to the cinema, stay home and watch Polanski’s Repulsion. Now there was a director who knew how to hit nerve endings and portray a descent into madness credibly and scare the audience witless.
So in short, there are no redeeming features in this Black Swan – it could have been at least half way decent in the right hands but which has been sabotaged by its director. Please save your hard-earned cash!
PS. I’m reminded that I forgot to mention Mila Kunis in this review, arguably giving the best performance in the movie. In the circumstances, it’s entirely to her credit that I omitted to mention her, perhaps in the hope that her career is not set back 10 years by the association with Black Swan :S