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Black Beauty of a Movie
Jan 10, 2011 01:27 PM 3821 Views
(Updated Jan 11, 2011 09:28 PM)





‘Black Swan’ is a story of an artist driven to insanity by perfection and ambition. There is a saying that art lies in concealing art. The protagonist of the story as well as director Aronofsky does it to perfection. We get a wholesome view of the human psyche, essentially a female psyche.

Nina, the ballerina portrayed by Natalie Portman is always under constant pressure to be the ‘sweet girl’. She is a child woman caught between adulthood and loss of innocence. We hardly find her dressed in black. It’s pink and white for her all the way.

Her bedroom is full of stuffed animals and she is not sexually active in real life. The basic necessities of an adult life and the lack of them add to her problems faced at work. Her overbearing mother, a former ballerina played by Barbara Hershey adds to the misery and gloom.

Nina is a perfectionist who is picked to play the ‘swan queen’. She replaces aging dancer Beth played by Winona Ryder who excels in a very short yet turbulent role. For Indian viewers who has seen Madhur Bhandarkar’s ‘Fashion’, will find quite a few similarities.

Ambition anywhere can be destructive. Nina gets what she wished for. She was in the habit of stealing Beth’s stuff like her lipstick, nail filer etc. just to feel like a diva. She becomes the most important person of the moment leading to the grand finale and a performance on the D day which scales dizzy heights.

But all of this comes with a dark and heartbreaking price. What it is, you must find out by watching the movie.

Performance wise, Aronofsky have taken his actors near to perfection. Whether it is Natalie Portman, whose frail yet powerful frame spins in form of painful harmony on stage.

She plays the white innocent swan and the vicious black swan with ease. Benjamin Millepied the guy who choreographed her dances and also is a co dancer in the movie deserves to sweep this extremely intelligent and no nonsense studious actress off her feet.

Thomas Leroy (Vincent Casell), who is adorably seductive is not a director who is hell bent on the casting couch. Well casting couch is necessary and it leads to great inspirations and works of art. Keep an eye on the character played by him.

Nina’s superficial world is further challenged by the easy and fluid new dancer and replacement ‘swan queen’ Lily played by Mila Kunis. So who is Mila Kunis? She is the ex-partner of ‘Home Alone’ star Macauley Culkin. Big dreamy eyes and a naughty smile but there is more to this lady in the movie.

The black wing tattoo on her back becomes symbolic of the growing negativity surrounding Nina. Nina becomes delusional and Lily becomes a part of this delusion. This delusion also materializes in one of the most intense love-making scenes on screen.

Women on women scenes are generally soft but this scene shows the dilapidated condition of Nina’s mind. The invasion of the doppelganger of her own negative thoughts appears time again in the form of Lily. Lily becomes the Dr. Hyde part of Nina’s psyche.

Such intense portrayal and disturbance we get in James Joyce novels or may be Khaled Hosseini. In movies, Sam Mendes’ ‘American Beauty’, David Lynch’s ‘Mulholland Drive’, Christopher Nolan’s ‘Memento’ or Mathieu Kassovitz’ ‘Gothika.

If you loved these movies then you do have a treat in ‘Black Swan’. Go watch it today. Black Swan is many things but also an allegory of darkness which lurks in every human being. It makes one weak and gives superhuman strength too.

The challenge in life is to face it, lose oneself in it and also to control it. A creative artist struggles with it but so does all of us. The movie rises beyond a mere movie by touching this universal truth and that also in an exquisite way.

In terms of genre, the movie mixes surrealism, neo noir, supernatural, thriller, erotica, musical and drama in the right proportions.

The protagonist becomes one with the character she plays so may you the audience become one with this movie.

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Black Swan Movie