BLACK SWAN--Directed by Darren Aronofsky/Starring Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Casse/screenplay written by Mark Heyman, Andres Heinz, John J. McLaughlin/story by Andres Heinz/rate R-1hr.50min
(G) I found this movie confusing—and remember, this is the opening statement from someone who really liked INCEPTION—and lacking in a couple of key areas. Immediately when I finished watching BLACK SWAN, I had the same vague feeling of dissatisfaction that I had days later upon careful reflection. The performances are clearly compelling. I know that many are lauding Kunis’ performance, but Natalie Portman shows a much wider array of emotions, performed with skillful layers of nuance that demonstrate a true shining star. There is no question that this is her movie, and for that reason I felt a little sorry for her that the script and story were not better. Ultimately, she will likely win some awards (this was written a day before the Golden Globes, but was not posted until after she won in the Best Actress category), but the story leaves too many things unresolved for an old-school story teller (like myself) to really appreciate. I have to say that there was just enough special effects, and they were used artfully, which allowed one to see that the line between reality and madness is sometime frighteningly thin. Looking at the movie as a whole, I think it is worth 2 and ½ binoculars. If it was an award simply for acting or even, perhaps “tasteful directing” I might be convinced to go slightly higher.
(B) I found this film to be very disturbing. The workings of the mind are indeed complex, but I found myself trying to separate what was real and what was illusion. Natalie sharpens her acting chops and has convincingly portrayed a disturbed girl in this roll as a ballerina pursuing perfection. I also need to mention how well she danced as an accomplished ballet dancer. You can tell she put a lot of work into this film. Please do not bring anyone under 18 to this movie. It is not only about dancing. Ultimately, I did not like this film. I can give it only one and a half binoculars.
NOTE: By percentage points, this film gets an average rating of two binocs.