Sunday, February 6, 2011

Oscar Best Picture Nominee: The Black Swan
Starring: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, VIncent Cassel
Director: Daren Aronofsky
Producer: Mike Medavoy, Brian Oliver, Scott Franklin

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 88%
Metacritic: 79%

Synopsis: A young talented prima ballerina struggles with her insecurities especially with her understudy.

Subtleties in the movies make one good. A perfect combination of symbolisms, irony and natural drama would make a movie stand out among any other. The best movies don't rely in the script to achieve a specific reaction. Most of the time, as it is in real life, reactions-- specifically, emotions--- originate from subtle forces acting on the subject. Indeed, BS quenched my thirst for subtleties and it's outstanding performances and mind-puzzling scenes made me want this movie to win the Oscars for Best Picture.

Natalie Portman portrayed the prima ballerina Nina Sayers whose ballet technique is outstanding yet it is rigid.  She is compared with her co-cast and her understudy (Mila Kunis) which on the other hand has the fluidity and a slight touch of carelessness. For this specific production, Natalie Portman, in fact, trained herself in ballet and professional ballerinas and danseurs praised her technique. Performances in this film is even comparable to what we can see on live stage. Not only that NP praised for her astonishing ballet but also her portrayal of the troubled protagonist. Her acting is so natural that motivations are clearly established (except for one thing, we will go back to that). She deserved the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress and so as the Oscar's Best Actress.

Given the genre of the movie, the psycho-drama is creepily enticing. The horror is sublime. We cannot see the traditional cunning and conniving evil but we definitely sense its presence. The evil is within oneself, says this movie, that we should be afraid of what we can do to ourselves. The appearance of the feathers in the final performance, the stabbing scene and the mysterious scratch marks (although it can be helpful if the script clarifies  the reasons for this) are hair-raising enough to invoke a deep form of fear. The film could be confusing but it encourages the audience to think.

Good movie, Highly Recommended.

Other Oscar's Nominations:
Best Director
Best Actress
Best Cinematography
Best Film Editing

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