While 2010 wasn't a great year for cinema, with many hyped up biggies both in Bollywood (Tees Maar Khan) and Hollywood (TRON: LEGACY) failing to live upto expectations. There was momentary respite through brilliant films such as PEEPLI LIVE and INCEPTION. Closing out the year came the much hyped Darren Aronofsky's "BLACK SWAN"
What it is: As previously covered by yours truly, BLACK SWAN is Aronofsky's (Requiem for a Dream, the Wrestler and the Fountain) darkly told tale of a ballerina played by Natalie Portman, who egged on by her overbearing mother played by Barbara Hershey vies for the lead role in a new ballet production, by the leading ballet producer portrayed by Vincent Cassel, coping with her mother's ambitions, the director's sexual advances and the threat of another ballerina (Mila Kunis) usurping her role, Portman's character slowly slips into delirium and starts seeing terrifying visions..or is it all true??
What Works: Aronofsky who arrived on the global cinema circuit through the eery, claustrophobic "requiem for a dream" and inched closer to Oscar Glory last year when "the wrestler" got nominated, uses his trademark, mindf*ck style with claustrophobic camera angles, eery lighting, and did-i-just-see-that shots; and makes it all work! Black Swan plummets into the ardurous lifestyle of a Ballerina as we see Portman suffer broken toes, sleepless nights and anorexia to put up with her schedule. Barbara Hershey as her overbearing mother reinvents creepiness, and will make kids lock their doors from their mothers for a long time! Mila Kunis playing a sexually adventurous ballerina, sizzles with the right amount of oomph on screen and Vincent Cassel, thrives in his role as a lecherous ballet producer.
What Doesn't: Aronofsky's cinema thrives on putting its protagonists in situation where their psyche is tried, tested and ripped apart. To this effect, he has often used the above mentioned camera angles and brooding lighting; and for someone who has followed his other movies, this comes across as a tad repetitive. But really, I am just nitpicking here.
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall..
Verdict: The Black Swan was a great way to cap off the cinematic year, and we may well see Portman, up on stage, come award time!
Chutney on the side: Aronofsky, first intended to have the Wrestler as a love story between a wrestler and a ballerina, however as that was considered too complex a plot, the Ballet story was hived off into..Black Swan