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Black Swan (2010)
Movie Review by The Spastic Cannibal

Black Swan (2010) Saw "Black Swan" twice before writing this. It's been a while (a LONG while) since I have seen a theatrical film with such a visionary 'flair' and stunning element of magnetic surrealism; something that doesn't often seem to find it's way to mass movie-goers. The film is simplistic, yet at the same time, you are forced to piece together the allegorical fragments of what you can only assume is a gradually deteriorating acumen. Plus, the fact that "Black Swan" revolves around a ballet dancer definitely makes for a more tantalizing and unfamiliar atmosphere in which to set a film of this kind...

A demure dancer makes her way to the leading role in an upcoming rendition of "Swan Lake", though the eccentric instructor is convinced that she is holding back her instinctive portrayal of the Black Swan - the inevitable evolution of the White Swan. Clearly, her depth-less facade of sheltered feminine purity appears to be holding her back from what is obviously an unsurfaced darker side that reflects the outcome of her stage performance... Along with her psychological downfall comes what may or may not be hallucinations involving a physical transformation into a swan. Of course, the "body horror" aspect does not take the movie into straightforward horror movie territory, as it is clearly representative of her decent into madness brought on by the demanding and highly self-destructive strive for perfection...

"Black Swan" is definitely Darren Aronofsky's best film, thus far. He's certainly improving with each new film and has come a long way from his days of pretentious, boring, over-rated, "this is your brain on drugs" type of PSA, pseudo-"art" dramas like "Requiem for a Dream". His previous film, "The Wrestler", was a profoundly engaging character-study containing Aronofsky's familiar traits involving self-destruction and passion for one's art form, though "Black Swan" knocks it out of the park in comparison.

Forget all the Oscar buzz. Remember - 3D, marketing machine, popcorn flick "Avatar" was nominated for best picture. The Academy Awards are not teeming with credibility, in my opinion, but I highly recommend checking out "Black Swan" if you like strange, tenebrous, "Jacob's Ladder" styled, nightmarish absorption. The way in which the film represents the psychological disintegration and collapse of the main character was handled with nuance as well as veracity, while never crossing the line into what you could safely call "horror movie" territory. Lines are constantly blurred, in terms of reality, fantasy, friendship, rivalry, beauty, horridness. The end performance of "Swan Lake" is a truly captivating spectacle of mystifying - and superbly stylized - surrealism right up until the incredibly ambiguous conclusion.

Hopefully the success of "Black Swan" will lead Aronofsky's film-making in a consistently promising direction and other directors may soon be allowed to once again expand the concept of cinema beyond just a Hollywood prick, blow-hard like James Cameron and a 3D gimmick. See "Black Swan"! Now!

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