Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Many of you may have seen the trailer and movie poster profiled by Barrett Goetz for the upcoming flick Black Swan. The movie is from the twisted mind of Darren Aronofsky, the man who brought us The Wrestler, The Fountain, Pi, and the well known Requiem for a Dream. His movies always seem to have a demented angle to them, and Black Swan looks no different if you have seen the preview. Even though Aronofsky pushes the envelope with each of his projects, audiences usually respond well to the message he is trying to convey.

Black Swan just premiered at the Venice Film Festival and the first press screening recently let out. The buzz circulating online could not be much better for Aronofsky and his new pet project. Some of the biggest movie sources on the planet can be see raving about the film below. Even if you don't read the excerpts from the reviews, at least skim them to grasp some of the words used to describe the film. Thoughts on the film like: "devastated, tense, excited, sexy, horror-thriller, wicked, visually complex, and enthralling" are just some of the praise given by these critics.

I think the most intriguing thing I pulled from the excerpts is "horror-thriller." While I know Aronofsky was going to make this film interesting, I find it hard to wrap my head around a movie about ballet circling the horror-thriller genre. I have no doubt that Aronofsky pulled it off as you can see the positive critical reaction pouring over the latest perverse project from the director. Consider me a paying customer when the movie hits theaters.

Black Swan drops in the United States December 1st, 2010.

Variety: “Aronofsky seems to be operating more in the vein of early Roman Polanski or David Cronenberg at his most operatic.” … “A wicked, sexy and ultimately devastating study of a young dancer’s all-consuming ambition,” … “Aronofsky and costume designer Amy Westcott are none too subtle with the film’s symbolism, dressing Nina in innocent white outfits while those around her wear darker and considerably more ominous colors. These exaggerated stylistic choices (somewhat at odds with Aronofsky’s documentary-like sense of detail and Matthew Libatique’s handheld shooting style) extend to the production design as well, adding yet another motif: Reflective surfaces, mostly mirrors, offer fleeting glimpses of Nina’s other half.” … “Coupled with Clint Mansell’s score, which expands upon Tchaikovsky’s original “Swan Lake” compositions to suggest something considerably more macabre (further aided by proper horror-movie sound design), the result is an unsettling yet ultimately intuitive blend of classical and contempo techniques.”
The Hollywood Reporter: “Trying to coax a horror-thriller out of the world of ballet doesn’t begin to work for Darren Aronofsky.” … “The movie is so damn out-there in every way that you can’t help admiring Aronofsky for daring to be so very, very absurd.” … n instant guilty pleasure, a gorgeously shot, visually complex film whose badness is what’s so good about it. You might howl at the sheer audacity of mixing mental illness with the body-fatiguing, mind-numbing rigors of ballet, but its lurid imagery and a hellcat competition between two rival dancers is pretty irresistible. Certain to divide audiences, “Swan” won’t lack for controversy.” … “Portman, who has danced but is no ballerina, does a more than credible job in the big dance numbers and the tough rehearsals that are so essential to the film. In her acting, too, you sense she has bravely ventured out of her comfort zone to play a character slowly losing sight of herself. It’s a bravura performance.” … “Kunis makes a perfect alternate to Portman, equally as lithe and dark but a smirk of self-assurance in place of Portman’s wide-eyed fearfulness. Indeed, White Swan/Black Swan dynamics almost work, but the horror-movie nonsense drags everything down the rabbit hole of preposterous.”
Screen International: “Darren Aronofsky soars to new heights with Black Swan, an enthralling drama set in the competitive world of ballet. Alternately disturbing and exhilarating, this dark study of a mentally fragile performer derailed by her obsession with perfection is one of the most exciting films to come out of the Hollywood system this year.” … “a bold display of cinematic fireworks that will leave audiences breathless.” … “If you can imagine The Turning Point run through with the psychological disturbia of Repulsion or Rosemary’s Baby, you get the gist of Black Swan.” … “Portman is captivating” … “she captures the confusion of a repressed young woman thrown into a world of danger and temptation with frightening veracity.” … “Aronofsky and his faithful DP Matthew Libatique work wonders with the dance sequences, bringing them to life through ingenious and diverse camera movements, while keeping Nina’s off-stage life grainy, hand-held and claustrophobic.”

Telegraph: “Powerful, gripping and always intriguing, it also features a lead performance from Natalie Portman that elevates her from a substantial leading actress to major star likely to be lifting awards in the near future.” … “Aronovsky makes great play of a colour scheme featuring mostly black and white (while Tomas dresses mainly in grey). But some details are tellingly observed - the preponderance of pink in Nina’s bedroom,a collection of soft toys, and the Swan Lake ringtone on her phone that lets her know Mother’s calling. Tchaikovsky’s music takes on an unsettling quality as Nina’s descent progresses, all the way to the disturbing but perfect ending. Black Swan is an exhilarating if uneasy ride, one that could deliver Aronofsky his second Golden Lion here in three years (he won in 2008 with The Wrestler). As for Portman, she can expect a busy few months at awards dinners.”
ObsessedWithFilm: “Best film I’ve seen all year. Left me devastated, excited, tense and emotionally drained. Tarantino will be a fool if he doesn’t give this the Golden Lion (unless something even better is coming up!). Aronofsky has made his first masterpiece and Portman must now be favorite for the Oscar. A perfect film that blends The Red Shoes with Antichrist, via Cronenberg.”


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