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Black Swan
BLU-RAY disk
Apr 28, 2011 By: J.A. Hamilton
Black Swan order download
Director:
Darren Aronofsky

Actors:
Natalie Portman
Mila Kunis
Vincent Cassel

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
An ballet dancer obsessed with perfection is given the chance of a lifetime when sheís offered the lead role in a revamped Swan Lake show and though she can nail the part of the White Swam things become far more complex and even brutal when sheís faced with the question of how to become the Black Swan and the reality of just how far sheís willing to go.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
BLACK SWAN was one of the most paradoxical films Iíve watched in a long while. I wouldnít say I hated it as there are many interesting sides to this evil cube but I donít quite feel the need to foam at the mouth and gush with compliments either. At the end of the day after all, this is a film about the ballet and Iím not exactly a fan of the ballet. The first twenty minutes of the film were rough (I almost fell asleep twice) and though it does get better in its own sick, demented and wickedly perverse way, itís not a film youíll watch more than twice (that is if you decided to watch it a second time thinking itíll make more sense. You either will or you wonít itíll depend on the viewer but I personally think once is enough).

There are a great many things transpiring here and to rightfully touch upon them all seems a bit impossible which is one of the reasons Darren Aronofsky deserves all the praise heís getting over this film. The constant duel between good and evil is visually created in a marvellous contrast with not just the sets, the wardrobe and the lighting but the characters as well. Taking Natalie Portmanís character through the full range of emotions seen here is as terrifying as it is brilliant. Portmanís character is genuine, delicate and untainted; her ambition is commendable and obvious from the start. What becomes of her is all about the journey we see unfold as the story goes but suffice to say itís anything but dull and goes straight for the jugular on more than one occasion.

Aside from Portmanís character I loved what Vincent Cassel brought to the table. He plays the part of greasy villain all too well and I honestly wish the guy landed more roles than he does (BROTHERHOOD OF THE WOLF is one of my favourite flicks of all time and Cassel is part of the reason). Iím still on the fence when it comes to Mila Kunisí character, I guess I just expected something different to come from that situation and I really didnít care for the mother. There was far more going on between mother and daughter than we ended up seeing, I guess thatís part of the magic which ended up creating some major tension but I felt there was a lot left unsaid and many questions left unanswered from that broken home.

BLACK SWAN is a visual feast if youíre hungry for a dark and gritty Shakespearian type tragedy with all the subliminal imagery youíd get from a sweet acid trip. As I said before, thereís a lot going on and if you can sit down with this flick long enough for it to hook you, youíll be in for a different ride than youíre used to thatís for sure. Natalie Portmanís come a long way in my eyes and itís clear that she is truly a gifted talent who can handle any role tossed her way, an accolade you canít give many Hollywood actresses these days. Thereís also the fun ďlove sceneĒ that Iím sure youíre all wondering if Iíll mention and yes, itís good, especially on Blu-ray. Oh how I love a good paradox.
THE EXTRAS
Black Swan Metamorphosis: Director Darren Aronofsky talks about how he changes everything from good to evil in the film and admits to getting the idea from a novel he read about a guy who wakes up one day to find an evil version of himself taking over his life.

Ballet: This quick two and a half minutes is all about how the ballet was incorporated into the film. Ballet sure does look like it takes a mad toll on the feet.

Production/Costume Design: Here we get a brief look at what prompted some of the sets, locales and costume designs for the film. The end makeup for the Black Swan is the most intense and terrifying makeup Iíve ever seen on a woman.

Profiles: There are small profiles here for Natalie Portman and Darren Aronofsky which basically pertain to how they met up and got involved with the film. There are also a couple conversation pieces discussing how Portman prepared for the role as well as all the ups and downs that came with the dancing.

Fox Movie Channel Presents: There are five short interviews ranging from about five to six minutes long with Natalie Portman, Wynona Ryder, Vincent Cassel, Barbara Hershey and Darren Aronofsky. Theyíre brief but worth a look.

Previews: Thereís a trailer for the film, a handful of other previews as well as a Digital Copy of the film.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
This film is indeed a paradox for me, aside from the slow start it held my attention to the end and I canít say that I wasnít enjoying it on most levels. The acting is stellar, the story twisted and original and the ending will definitely punch you in the face. Would I have rented this on my own had I not needed to review it for work, Iím not sure. Will I watch it again, probably not but hey, I still recommend it.
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1:06AM on 05/06/2011
"Black Swan" is a movie about control. The Ballet takes a backseat to the main issue, which is Nina's sanity. While, yes, the entire film is meant to counterpoint the wonderful story of Swan Lake, there is plenty more occurring. Furthermore, Ballet is beautiful in and of itself...it should be appreciated more, and don't fault the movie just because you don't care for that art form. Cassell is only a "scum-bag" depending on your POV. It's implied heavily that the majority of the female dancers
"Black Swan" is a movie about control. The Ballet takes a backseat to the main issue, which is Nina's sanity. While, yes, the entire film is meant to counterpoint the wonderful story of Swan Lake, there is plenty more occurring. Furthermore, Ballet is beautiful in and of itself...it should be appreciated more, and don't fault the movie just because you don't care for that art form. Cassell is only a "scum-bag" depending on your POV. It's implied heavily that the majority of the female dancers are very attracted to him (as is Nina). And these aren't teenagers we're talking about: they're women in their 20's. He certainly doesn't manipulate or take advantage of them, as I saw it. He seduces them, yes, but it doesn't come from a cruel, malicious or one-sided place. He's not meant to be seen as a predator, however, for the sake of Nina's story, his true intentions are to seem a little ambigous (like Lily's), to put the viewer further inside her head. As for replay value, I've watched "Black Swan" almost a dozen times now and still am not the least bit tired of it. It's a brilliantly realized horror film.
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2:27PM on 05/03/2011
Most of the people I've talked to about this film think it's overrated. And this film is very much about the ballet, it's not just a setting (something I clearly stated). Vincent Cassell plays a greasy scum bag who manipulates and takes advantage of the women around him, if that's not villain-esque than I don't know what is. The movie was alright but at the end of the day one thing I judge a film by is replay value as well as overall enjoyment and this film doesn't have much replay value
Most of the people I've talked to about this film think it's overrated. And this film is very much about the ballet, it's not just a setting (something I clearly stated). Vincent Cassell plays a greasy scum bag who manipulates and takes advantage of the women around him, if that's not villain-esque than I don't know what is. The movie was alright but at the end of the day one thing I judge a film by is replay value as well as overall enjoyment and this film doesn't have much replay value (again, something I clearly stated). I didn't give this flick a bad review, hell, I even recommended it :)
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+10
11:03AM on 04/28/2011

What a bad review of a great film

"It's about the ballet." Wow. The setting is in the ballet, but the story (what it's about) is not. And Vincent Cassell does not play a villain in this movie.
"It's about the ballet." Wow. The setting is in the ballet, but the story (what it's about) is not. And Vincent Cassell does not play a villain in this movie.
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6:04PM on 04/28/2011
I also agree, this review is retarded! paradox? this aint Doctor who!! This was an amazing film and a quality performance by Portman.
I also agree, this review is retarded! paradox? this aint Doctor who!! This was an amazing film and a quality performance by Portman.
1:29PM on 04/28/2011
I agree. This review makes me wonder if the reviewer even watched the film, or if he did, how closely he was paying attention to it.
I agree. This review makes me wonder if the reviewer even watched the film, or if he did, how closely he was paying attention to it.
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