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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    ‘Black Swan’: twisted brilliance

    Black Swan
    Black Swan

    Shockingly twisted and incredibly intense best describes director Darren Aronofsky’s haunting psychological thriller, “”Black Swan.””

    I have to admit, when I heard of “”Black Swan,”” my first thought was: “”Really? Another dance movie?”” I expected Hollywood to dish out yet another one of its pretty, ice cream sundae films. You know the ones. An underdog athlete faces almost impossible odds to prove himself/herself, learning and discovering his/her true self along the way. And of course, all these movies close with a nice “”cherry on top”” ending: the protagonist ultimately prevails, triumphing over his/her obstacles and opponents. Think of the dance movies out there: “”Flashdance,”” “”Dirty Dancing,”” “”Center Stage”” and “”Step Up.”” Same basic formula, just different ingredients. I enjoy these films, but I have to say with “”Black Swan,”” Hollywood did it right. They turned the sundae upside-down.

    The film centers on Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman), a dancer in a prominent New York City ballet company who is chosen by the company’s artistic director to dance the role of the Swan Queen, the lead in the company’s production of “”Swan Lake.”” Although Nina is a perfect fit to portray the graceful innocence of the White Swan, she struggles to get in touch with the sly sensuality needed to dance the part of the White Swan’s evil twin, the Black Swan. However, when the confident and elusive Lily (Mila Kunis) joins the company, the two form a twisted friendship that helps Nina begin to get in touch with her darker side. With her controlling mother breathing down her neck and the threat of losing her part, Nina soon finds herself in a psychotic web of paranoia and delusion that could lead, quite literally, to a once-in-a-lifetime performance.

    It’s Stephen King’s “”Carrie”” mixed with “”Shutter Island,”” boosted by Portman’s incredible performance. If the Golden Globes are indicative of “”Black Swan’s”” success, it would be no surprise if the film also saw Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actress in a Leading Role.

    Student reviews

    It’s not just the critics who are singing “”Black Swan’s”” praises. Here’s what dancers in the UA School of Dance have to say:

    “”I expected a film somewhere along the lines of “”Center Stage””… but when I saw the trailer I did not expect it to be so dark and psychotic. I thought the movie was great. It left me speechless at the end … not in a good way or a bad way. It was very unexpected and engaging.””

    — Hayley Frasier, sophomore

    “”I couldn’t possibly imagine something like that happening to me as a dancer. Although I do like to become my character in class and on stage, I can separate the amazing feeling of the audience and bright lights from the people I interact with on the streets … I stayed quite interested in the movie while watching it and even thought about it afterwards. It left an imprint of wild thoughts and possibilities in my mind.””

    — Michelle Costello, sophomore

    “”My initial reaction to the film was that I was very grateful that it wasn’t similar to all the other dance movies; it wasn’t over-the-top happy and it has a sad ending. Too often dance movies make the possibility of success for the dancer unrealistically easy. I also appreciated that the overall themes of darkness, creepiness and thriller aspects were included. Natalie’s acting was superb.””

    — Paetia Mechler, freshman


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