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"A movie that attacks the psychological bounds that it is almost impossible to let up"

Film Daveactor7 2010/12/06 13:09:57

I'd have to say, this is one of the most psychologically driven films I have ever seen and this is, in fact, the film in which Natalie Portman defines herself as an actress.

The story-a ballerina named Nina is chosen as a replacement for a new show called "Swan lake" and she is very talented, but in comes a new ballerina named Lily who also happens to be very talented as well. Vying for her teacher's attention and struggling with life at home, Nina's life begins to spiral out of control and with Lily involved it begins to take its toll on Nina's mind and ultimately it will come to affect much more then that. A great story and one that I have never heard of before. A psychological twist to a story that requires ballet. I have always considered ballet as a great form of art and here it goes beyond my perspective and opens it up to something new. Screenwriters Mark Heyman, Andres Heinz, and John J. McLaughlin do a fantastic job with the screenplay and with Nina's horrific psychological process.

The acting-Natalie Portman as Nina blows me away portraying a struggling character who not only struggles at home, but also while she is doing what she is great at. Not to mention, Portman learned ballet to prepare herself for this film and she does a magnificent job that she could have been a ballerina in real life. Also, her character's evolution really gets into the mind, especially during the scene in which Lily, played by Mila Kunis, makes out with her. That kiss itself defines Nina's psychological aspect overall and Portman does great conveying this. She is going to take the oscar home for sure this year. Mila Kunis does well as Lily and she does well in becoming a character that really toys around with Portman's character. Even though she helps to bring about the dark side of Portman's character, she is also likable and she actually shows the audience why the teacher likes her very much as well. Her ballerina portrayal is great as well. Vincent Cassel as Nina and Lily's teacher Thomas, is very seductive and he does this so that his ballerinas can feel as if that love can flow through their entire bodies during a performance. The ballerinas dance movements throughout the film also literally portray "love" as well. Overall, truly great performances that are worth seeing the film for.

The directing- Darren Aronofsky does a fantastic job in getting what he wants in this film. Keeping psychological boundaries within a film about life behind the scenes of ballet and in front of it. Truly astounding job. Also, I don't know how he did it, but he got the best performance out of Portman that deserves props right there. Although Portman wanted to give this film her all, Aronofsky helped her to convey more. It is as if he tapped into her mind and gave her a spark that would bring out so much. I am sure he will nab a nomination this year. He also in ways makes it seem like a film noir, which is a rarity.

The visuals-the cgi in some scenes is great, but the main thing in visuality terms is the makeup and it really catches your attention in this film. The coloring of the makeup actually captures the mood of the entirety of the film and it also conveys what each character is feeling. Nina's makeup in particular in especially one scene in which she is dancing with makeup with silver eye lining and the paleness of the makeup really brings a lot of the character out of her. It shows that she is slowly descending into madness and though the makeup looks beautiful, it actually shows her character evolving, literally. The cinematography is excellent as well. Cinematographer Matthew Libatique does surprisingly well in not only capturing the baller performances superbly, but also he captures shots in which convey much of the character's moods.

The score-Clint Mansell does a superb job here, his pieces do so well in capturing the mood of the film and it does excellent as he captures Nina's descent into madness. I think he may nab a nomination this year.

Overall, a great film, one that challenges the mind and it will leave you speechless towards the end. It certainly did for me.


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