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Black Swan Review

  Movie Maniacs rating:
  4 and a Half Stars
  Rating: 15
  Release Date: 21/01/2011  


Drama, Mystery, Thriller,



By Ryan Casey


In a naive attempt to preserve my masculinity, I made sure I had a pint of bitter and a packet of McCoys by my side when I reluctantly sat down and watched Darren Aronofsky’s mysterious thriller Black Swan. I mean come on, it’s a movie about ballet. I don’t like ballet. I’m a man.


The film follows the endeavours of a young, emotionally fragile and socially nervous ballet dancer, Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman). All her wildest fantasies come true when she is unexpectedly selected to star as the lead protagonist in the world famous ballet Swan Lake.

The role requires her to adopt an on-stage split personality, one side of which being the beautifully elegant notion of purity, the white swan, the other being the rebellious image of sexual virility, the black swan.  One aspect of which comes as second nature to her, yet the other causes her great personal difficulty. The importance of unlocking these hidden facets of her personality transports her on a journey of both self-discovery and destruction.


Ryan Rates

In truth I feel like a right idiot with regards to my previous reservations about Black Swan. The movie is absolutely mesmerizing. It is brilliantly bizarre at times, containing scenes with mildly disturbing imagery, yet none of which seems misplaced, only adding to the empathy you feel for Nina and her inner and exterior struggle with life.


Natalie Portman is superb. She puts in a truly memorable performance that keeps your eyes glued to the screen for the entirety. Mila Kunis stars as Lily, a confident dancer that plays a major role in Nina’s enlightenment. Kunis displays a raw sexuality and genuine persona that shields her motives throughout, making her a thoroughly intriguing aspect of the narrative.

Other performances of note include; Vincent Cassel as Nina’s mentor and artistic director, Thomas Leroy and Barbara Hershey as Nina’s obsessive, controlling mother Erica Sayers.
Black Swan could be contrived as being confusing at times, yet the (mild) confusion only aids to the films mysterious qualities in a good way.

The fact that I had been given an insight into the actual story of ‘Swan Lake’ before watching Black Swan, benefited my understanding of the narrative, thus leading to my sole gripe with the movie. For those who have no previous interest in ballet and no overview to the development of the films plot, the bizarre nature of Black Swan would prove hard to understand, especially through the introduction.This is but a minor criticism.


if you are a connoisseur of filmmaking, you should be able to appreciate the inexplicable beauty that litters this piece of visual art, whatever your knowledge of its context. I can’t really pass comment on the quality of the ballet in Black Swan, but one thing I know is the film itself is a a hell of a lot better than my dancing after several pints of my masculine beers. 4.5 Stars out of 5







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