BLACK SWAN Movie Review
If there's one type of movie that I'm usually not a fan of, it's psychological thrillers. I don't know what it is about them, I guess I can't really be pulled into a movie that I can't relate to. I'm not a paranoid schizophrenic, I don't know what it's like to be one, and it's rare I watch a movie that displays someone with a mental disorder that I can understand. I feel like Darren Aronofsky's "Black Swan" is a rare occasion where a psychological thriller works for me.
The story follows a young ballerina, Nina (Natalie Portman), who is elected to be the star of a New York ballet remake of Swan Lake, renamed Black Swan. It takes the idea of Swan Lake and adds both the pure, White Swan, and the evil, Black Swan. It is quickly established that Nina has a mental disorder, and as the plot progresses, her mental state deteriorates and finally crumbles as the stress of being the star ballerina overwhelms her.
The reason this movie worked so well to help me understand what it's like to be in the mind of a disturbed young woman was because it takes her perspective throughout the film. What I mean by that is, whatever Nina sees, you see. Whatever Nina experiences, you experience. The film is about following her from her own mind, seeing the bizarre and often gruesome imagery that she sees in her own head, and never really knowing what's reality and what's fantasy created by her disorder. Natalie Portman's performance in this film is incredible as well. She is a pure, vulnerable, helpless young woman, suffering from her own staggering inhibitions when it comes to socializing, interacting with others and sex. But she is also a dark, powerful, malicious woman; violent and careless and rampantly sexual. The fact that Portman is able to display both of these personalities side by side so well is a testament to her incredible talent as an actress.
Black Swan sucks you in and leaves you shaken at its relentless look into the mind of a mentally disturbed human being. That to me is what a psychological thriller is supposed to do.