It's a tribute to this film's quality that 2 months after its release it can still fill a medium size theatre at Rialto Newmarket on a Saturday night.
The Academy loves to give Oscars to actors who transform themselves for roles, and in Black Swan, Natalie Portman utterly transforms her body to become the ballerina whose drive for perfection almost kills her. Her performance beautifully channels Mia Farrow in ROSEMARY'S BABY and is exceptional.
She is supported by an excellent cast and a script that really knows both its genre (psychological thriller) and its world (elite ballet).
The direction too, is very, very strong. Aronosfky is making a specialty out of studying obsessed individuals in very specific worlds. And here he uses a lot of the techniques that he explored in THE WRESTLER - hand held observational camera work, total focus on the main character, grainy 16mm stock. But he ramps all that up spectacularly with both brilliant tension and some truly shocking visuals.
The domineering mother in the film brings to mind the domineering mother in de Palma's CARRIE. Living her life through her daughter, trying to repress her sexuality. And the creature transformations feel like a wink to Landis' AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON. All wrapped up in the arch, sophisticated airs of the New York ballet.
This is a seriously good film, and is really a 4 and half star movie.
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