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"Black Swan" Is A Truly Original Masterpiece

Ken Van der Meeren |
November 20, 2010 | 1:33 p.m. PST

Staff Reporter

Black Swan (Fox Searchlight)
Black Swan (Fox Searchlight)
Darren Aronofsky delivers a truly powerful and utterly breathtaking movie with the psychological thriller "Black Swan."

The movie centers on the opening of a new ballet show, "Swan Lake," and ballerina Nina, played by Natalie Portman. She has to push herself to the limits of sanity for her starring double role of both the seductively evil black swan and the graceful and innocent white swan.

The artistic director of the ballet show, Thomas Leroy, played by the very talented Vincent Cassel, tells her she can only achieve perfection by not only mastering the moves but by "letting herself go," to become natural.

Nina embodies the characteristics of the white swan, perfect in form but not seductive enough to be the black swan, such as that of her friend and rival Lily, played by Mila Kunis.

Leroy’s words about perfection set off a damaging series of events that sees Portman turn herself into the black swan, her alter ego. The black swan shows itself through Portman's character by the changing colors of her outfits from her natural color of white to the darker black clothes, as well as her behavior and temperament.

Her alter ego is much closer to that of her rival Lily, who lacks form but is natural and seductive in her ballet.

Madness sets in with first vividly dark dreams and then strange voices which accumulate in the run up to Nina's starring performance in "Swan Lake." In the play, the black swan seduces the white swan’s muse and lover, which leads to the white swan’s demise.

Aronofsky has a natural talent for coaxing Oscar-worthy and powerful performances from his actors, such as in "The Wrestler" with Mickey Rourke. Here, his lead actress Natalie Portman puts in a truly outstanding and chilling performance.

Cassel and Portman’s performances, the superb ballet and the cacophony of noise from Nina’s insanity kept moviegoers enthralled and at times gasping for air.

Credit should be given to the music of Clint Mansell, which sets the tone and adds to the suspense; and to ballet choreographer Benjamin Millepied, as Kunis and Portman’s performances appear very realistic.

The "Black Swan" is the best movie of 2010; the suspense, chilling music and outstanding performances deliver a knock out movie.

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