The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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“Black Swan” delivers a strong movie with few shortcomings

Sleek, sexy and sophisticated, Darren Aronofsky’s “Black Swan” soars as a modern day masterpiece. Aronofsky brilliantly cast charismatic Natalie Portman in the devastating, dark role of ballerina Nina. Once again, Aronofsky has proved his enormous insight and talent for creating compelling dramatic movies and received picture perfect performances from Portman, Mila Kunis and Vincent Cassel.

”Black Swan” narrates the story of Nina, a meticulous and talented dancer who relies on perfect technique over pure passion. Nina, an extremely gifted dancer, has always been on the outskirts and only occasionally obtained a significant role in various ballets. In the opening, Nina vividly dreams of performing “Swan Lake” as the Swan Queen, but is engulfed by evil forces before waking up. For the upcoming Lincoln Center season, rumors abound that lead star Beth MacIntyre (Winona Ryder) will depart and ballet maestro Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel) will seek out a new star.

In a ferocious, frantic scene, Beth throws a temper tantrum in her dressing room when she learns she is no longer needed. The audience discovers how quickly a dancer’s career ceases because someone is always waiting in the wings to take your spot.

However, for Nina to shine as the new star, she must master both the roles of the innocent Swan Queen and the seductive Black Swan. With the abrupt arrival of a new dancer, Lily (Mila Kunis) from San Francisco, will Nina rise as the star she has always dreamed of being or will she remain a supporting dancer? Is she willing to surrender to her dark side, and if so, for how long?

Easily one of the 10 best films of the year (and possibly the best), Aronofsky draws forth the best performances from all his actors. Portman radiates spot-on as Nina and owns this role from opening to conclusion. The transformation of na?ve, innocent Nina to a loose-lip seductress reminds audiences of the admirable acting depth Portman possesses. Whether involved in an intensive workout, arguing with her mother Erica (Barbara Hershey), or beholding one of her visions, she sells every moment in the film. Portman, a genuine genius, delivers an award-worthy performance that communicates new meaning to intensity.

Kunis mesmerizes as Lily and evokes the competitive edge needed to push Portman’s Nina to become the Black Swan. Their tender but intense moments on screen create dynamic tension and suspense. Not only does the duo seem similar during most of the movie, but they personify polished counterparts of good versus evil to draw the best and the worst from each other.

Fantastic French actor Vincent Cassel’s chemistry with all his leading ladies solidifies him as an underrated and compelling actor. Cassel continues to deliver one outstanding performance after another. Thomas Leroy, supposedly the movie’s most unlikable character, is inspiring because of Cassel’s conniving, creative and compelling performance.

The film’s demanding physical aspects illustrate that only impressive actors can truly generate their A-game in their roles. Portman, Kunis and Cassel sparkle as absolute gems in this film. Even Winona Ryder in her limited yet pivotal role remarkably astonishes and reminds us of similar small-scale, strong performances. The infamous actress beguiles and bewitches the audience. Bravo for Winona demonstrating her immense talent once again to audiences.

My sole disappointment for the entire film concerned Barbara Hershey’s casting. She seems completely out of place. Meryl Streep was previously considered for the role of Erica. Imagine if that had happened. Hershey just didn’t fit or feel right in the film. Almost flawless, the cast created a terrific thriller thanks to the diligent, distinctive and dynamic director Aronofsky.

Aronofsky has put forward gleaming gems “The Wrestler,” “Requiem for a Dream,” and “Pi” on his resume. A foremost director of his generation, Aronofsky gets better with age. Like Stanley Kubrick, Aronofsky meticulously demands perfect performances and settles for nothing else. He presses, prods and propels actors to their exhaustive limits until he has derived their optimum.

This psychological thriller emerges as a mind-blowing film and blurs the fragile lines of fantasy and reality so that the audience cannot distinguish what is the truth. Aronofsky, a master cinema craftsman, created an excellently executed and award-worthy film.

“Black Swan” towers as a must-see sensational film, includes impressive performances, hovers as one of the best thrillers in years and materializes as the matchless movie of 2010.

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