Monday, December 13, 2010

Black Swan Review: The Price Of Perfection

Nina Sayer, the prima ballerina in Darren Aronofsky’s new thriller, Black Swan, strives for excellence, pirouetting and plieing with technique blameless, but without feeling; a master of precision without depth. Black Swan is structured around her yearning for the release from her self-imposed confines, her inability to let go, and find the passion in her art. Black Swan is visually arresting, expressively assaulting, a masterwork of technique and passion that feels similar to Aronofsky has truly found his own Black Swan within.

At the beginning of the film Nina’s dancing, like Aronofsky’s first three films, feels unfilled. Every step is completely timed, practiced, and thoroughly thought through. What Nina (Natalie Portman) lacks is the emotional connection to the movements that could motivate an audience. She is told as much from the New York City Ballet Company’s director, Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel), as he tries to select the latest Swan Queen for his production of Swan Lake. After flubbing her audition for the fraction, Nina wants to change Thomas’ mind, but when faced with having to push for what she wants, Nina backs down. Thomas challenges her, forcefully grabbing her in a kiss. Originally she gives in, only to bite back literally. She fears this may have ended her career, but by drawing blood Nina proved there was a darkness inside her that could be the absent piece in her achieving perfection.

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