Monday, March 07, 2011

Black Swan

Wow! This is an extremely well-made melodrama. Great direction and cinematography - it all feels incredibly claustrophobic, and the white/black/mirroring themes are pursued relentlessly. Lots of wobbly-cam, and black industrial spaces. Very silly and great fun.

The acting is superb throughout. Barbara Hershey as Nina’s stage mother is freakily scary and Natalie Portman’s Nina and Mila Kunis’s Lily, Nina’s rival, are great foils for each other. I think Mila had the better part though, even if not the lead.

I’m not quite sure about what I feel about Natalie winning the Best Actress Oscar, though. It is a fine performance, understated as befits the reticent character she plays. The trouble is her character isn’t ultimately very likeable, so the performance is more admirable than heart-warming. And neither lead is much good at ballet - I mean, I’m totally ballet ignorant and even I could see they weren’t great (and the script calls for their director to repeatedly call them brilliant, which grates when they are plainly not). But these are minor quibbles - I sense it’s a budding camp classic in the mode of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane or Mommie Dearest.

I wholeheartedly applaud Natalie Portman however for her brave (given her contractual obligations to the company), outspoken response to Dior’s designer John Galliano’s drunken anti-semitic rants. She was practically alone amongst celebs in speaking the truth, and perhaps bumped Dior into doing the right thing.

1 comment:

Jan said...

Haven't seen it Ed (my S.O. has though - and would agree with your review I think).
I did see Mila in Forgetting Sarah Marshall - thought she was great, so I imagine you're spot on about her.
Oh, and yes - well said Natalie.