Watching Black Swan has a similar feeling of intensity and horror as watching a car crash in slow motion. From the start the viewer knows that this is a story about a ballerina named Nina (Natalie Portman) plagued simultaneously with a yearning for perfection and a penchant for doubt resulting in self-abuse, paranoia and neurosis. Upon receiving her break-through role as the Swan Queen, Nina’s ambitions are tempered by the accusation that her performance may be technically impeccable but lacks the passion required to snare the audience. This is delivered by the director of the play and company leader Thomas (Vincent Cassel) who encourages her repeatedly to “let go.” Thus ensues an incredibly visceral journey through Nina’s mind over the course of her rehearsals. Violently and sexually charged, Nina’s succumbing to the neccesities of her demanding role as both White Swan and Black Swan unravels in a stomach-churning performance. Questions of what is real or not real arise but take a back seat to Nina’s development and her overwhelming drive to play her parts. In a word, the movie was chilling.
My rating: 8.5/10