Is Black Swan a masterpiece or misfire? The early reviews are here!
Darren Aronofsky's latest film, BLACK SWAN, just premiered at the Venice Film Festival and the early reviews are starting to trickle in. The buzz from the film's trailer had us all psyched but would that translate into a rave reviews? The early buzz on the film is here so let's take a look at what some top critics thought after seeing BLACK SWAN:
Todd McCarthy, IndieWire: "As a sensory experience for the eyes and ears, “Black Swan” provides bountiful stimulation. Aronofsky and cinematographer Matthew Libatique choreograph the camera in beautiful counterpoint to Portman’s dance moves, especially in rehearsals, and the muted color scheme on rather grainy stock look like a more refined version of what the director did on “The Wrestler.” Tchaikovsky’s ever-present music supplies plenty of its own drama and the dance world details seem plausible enough. But when the script by Mark Heyman and Andres Heinz, based on the latter’s story, struggles to carve out a real-world parallel to the life-and-death struggle depicted in the dance story, it goes over the top in something approaching grand guignol fashion."
Kirk Honeycutt, THR: "First there was the Phantom of the Opera. Now, in Darren Aronofsky's "Black Swan," you get the Terror of the Ballet. The movie combines horror-movie tropes with "The Red Shoes," "All About Eve" and every movie about show business that insists you don't have to be crazy to become a star but it doesn't hurt either. The movie is so damn out-there in every way that you can't help admiring Aronofsky for daring to be so very, very absurd. "Swan" is an instant guilty pleasure, a gorgeously shot, visually complex film whose badness is what's so good about it. You might howl at the sheer audacity of mixing mental illness with the body-fatiguing, mind-numbing rigors of ballet, but its lurid imagery and a hellcat competition between two rival dancers is pretty irresistible. Certain to divide audiences, "Swan" won't lack for controversy, but will any of this build an audience?"
Peter DeBruge, Variety: "A wicked, sexy and ultimately devastating study of a young dancer's all-consuming ambition, "Black Swan" serves as a fascinating complement to Darren Aronofsky's "The Wrestler," trading the grungy world of a broken-down fighter for the more upscale but no less brutal sphere of professional ballet. Centerstage stands Natalie Portman, whose courageous turn lays bare the myriad insecurities genuinely dedicated performers face when testing their limits, revealing shades of the actress never before seen on film...What's missing from Portman's characterization -- and the film itself -- is the pressing need to perform, the inescapable artistic contagion that powered Powell and Pressburger's "The Red Shoes" ("Black Swan" sorely lacks that film's romantic dimension as well)."
Robert Beames, Obsessed With Film: "Best film I’ve seen all year. Left me devastated, excited, tense and emotionally drained. Tarantino will be a fool if he doesn’t give this the Golden Lion...Aronofsky has made his first masterpiece and Portman must now be favourite for the Oscar."
Oddly enough, while these aren't exactly all glowing reviews (with the exception of Beames'), they make me want to see the film that much more. It seems like the type of movie that will divide audiences and critics but I'll take a movie that sparks debate any day of the week.