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Is Black Swan a masterpiece or misfire? The early reviews are here!

Sep. 1, 2010by: Mike Sampson

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.

Source: JoBlo.com

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10:21PM on 09/01/2010
I LOVE The Fountain. One of my favorites of all time but not praised by critics like Darrens other works!! But seriously I've stopped listening to critics at all. If I want to see a damn movie I will see a damn movie. The trailers for this gives me chills so I know I want to see it! Besides....is there much coming out the rest of the year anyways?? Nothing for me except HP7 and a few scattered.
I LOVE The Fountain. One of my favorites of all time but not praised by critics like Darrens other works!! But seriously I've stopped listening to critics at all. If I want to see a damn movie I will see a damn movie. The trailers for this gives me chills so I know I want to see it! Besides....is there much coming out the rest of the year anyways?? Nothing for me except HP7 and a few scattered.
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+5
8:26PM on 09/01/2010

Aronofsky = Masterpiece

I agree with a few of you that say The Fountain was his masterpiece and its actually one of my fav movies alltime but lets face it every movie he made is perfection or pretty close to it! Im sure this will be no diferent!
I agree with a few of you that say The Fountain was his masterpiece and its actually one of my fav movies alltime but lets face it every movie he made is perfection or pretty close to it! Im sure this will be no diferent!
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6:54PM on 09/01/2010
TIFF cannot come fast enough.
TIFF cannot come fast enough.
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-7
2:07PM on 09/01/2010
natalie portman looks beyond ugly in that poseter. yuck
natalie portman looks beyond ugly in that poseter. yuck
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+5
2:07PM on 09/01/2010

In Darren we Trust

I am a huge fan of all of his previous work and cannot wait to see this. I did have fears about a "ballet" movie but after checking out the trailer and reading these reviews im going to lock myself in a shed and build a time machine so i can zoom forward to december!
I am a huge fan of all of his previous work and cannot wait to see this. I did have fears about a "ballet" movie but after checking out the trailer and reading these reviews im going to lock myself in a shed and build a time machine so i can zoom forward to december!
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-10
1:51PM on 09/01/2010

This looks good but The Fountain

was waaay up its own arse. Have you read the Guardian interview where Aronofsky claimed people didn't get The Fountain because it was released Pre-Obama? What BS. Brilliant soundtrack though
was waaay up its own arse. Have you read the Guardian interview where Aronofsky claimed people didn't get The Fountain because it was released Pre-Obama? What BS. Brilliant soundtrack though
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1:10PM on 09/01/2010
Always figured that if the story was going to flop, Aranofsky would make sure that the cinematography and visuals deliver.
Always figured that if the story was going to flop, Aranofsky would make sure that the cinematography and visuals deliver.
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12:43PM on 09/01/2010

Ill see it...

Loved The Wrestler and Requiem...The fountain, not as much.. but I'm confident that this will tear critics apart just by reading how excited Beames was. haha
Loved The Wrestler and Requiem...The fountain, not as much.. but I'm confident that this will tear critics apart just by reading how excited Beames was. haha
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12:30PM on 09/01/2010
Having read the script I know what to expect plotwise but I cannot wait to witness the performances. This is certainly one of the top films this year that I'm looking forward to.
Having read the script I know what to expect plotwise but I cannot wait to witness the performances. This is certainly one of the top films this year that I'm looking forward to.
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12:28PM on 09/01/2010
I'm up for anything Aronofsky does at this point.
I'm up for anything Aronofsky does at this point.
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11:48AM on 09/01/2010
aranofsky is one of those directors that i trust to always make quality films. i'll go see whatever he does. even if its, ergh.... wolverine 2....

and i agree w/ the soloist. The Fountain was a masterpiece!
aranofsky is one of those directors that i trust to always make quality films. i'll go see whatever he does. even if its, ergh.... wolverine 2....

and i agree w/ the soloist. The Fountain was a masterpiece!
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11:32AM on 09/01/2010
I'm so up for anything that is draining (i.e. Inception, The Hurt Locker, Inglorious Basterds). Film looks great and Aranofsky has already made a msterpiece...it's called The Fountain.
I'm so up for anything that is draining (i.e. Inception, The Hurt Locker, Inglorious Basterds). Film looks great and Aranofsky has already made a msterpiece...it's called The Fountain.
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11:01AM on 09/01/2010
I was waiting for the review that said:

"Natalie Portman + Mila Kunis + Make-Out/Sex = Oscar!"
I was waiting for the review that said:

"Natalie Portman + Mila Kunis + Make-Out/Sex = Oscar!"
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10:45AM on 09/01/2010
It'll be good. Even if its Aranofsky's FIRST misfire, it'll still be good.
It'll be good. Even if its Aranofsky's FIRST misfire, it'll still be good.
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+10
10:18AM on 09/01/2010
Christ, reading the mind-numbing ego-tastical crap that professional critics write gives me a headache. I know they want to be precise, but they just come off sounding like elitist snobs who drink too much Starbucks.

My take is that it looks like a good film.
Christ, reading the mind-numbing ego-tastical crap that professional critics write gives me a headache. I know they want to be precise, but they just come off sounding like elitist snobs who drink too much Starbucks.

My take is that it looks like a good film.
Your Reply: