Amazingly, Not A Blaxploitation Version Of Swan Lake
Even Though I Would Love To See That.
Every now and then there comes a film that catches me by surprise, what I would expect to be a boring, possibly well shot but nothing else, diatribe on something or another, turns out to be amazing, and it hits me in the head like a battery being tossed at a Boston Red Sox outside of Yankee Stadium. I went into The Black Swan expecting some overacted, over typed, trying way to hard to be visual and artistic pile of bovine excrement, but instead, what I got was a brilliant, chilling and haunting story that harkens back to one of the greatest thrillers of all time, The Hand That Rocks The Cradle, just replace the children, with ballet, and you've got the basic idea of what this film is trying to be, and the story its trying to tell you, and though yes, we've all heard this story millions of times by now in millions of other films, somehow, maybe because it was shot and directed by the same guy that did The Wrestler, another film we've seen a million times over, but somehow could not stop raving about after we all saw it, there is just some magical enchanting charm to this film, maybe its the twisted darkness, maybe its the stunning beauty of the dance work, each person will tell you differently, and I gotta tell you, for a film, thats incredible, because it shows just how broad of a viewership it has, and just how amazing it is.
The film's plot is pretty simple on the surface but gets more complex when you look below the surface, centering around a lavish production of Swan Lake and the compition to replace a hurt lead dancer as both the White and Black Swan Queen in the production, and how it spirals from a simple choice of a troupe favorite whom everyone loves, into a complicated and complex mental game where a newcomver tries everything to take the role, even trying to become the very person she's up against. Its a brilliant and at times shocking look at just how far a dancer is willing to go for a starring role. Ofcourse not all dancers in the world are this way, but you get the idea, its like any other kind of story like this, regardless of the type of job the setting is. But don't let that take away from your enjoyment or viewing of the film, its really something to see. The dancing is first rate, the visuals are surreal and at times striking and moving, and ofcourse the acting is truly at times awe inspiring, its really no wonder this film is expected to clean up at the awards shows this February, it would be truly deserving of its awards and praise, a feat that is very rare these days.
What truly stuck me about this film, is, as I mentioned earlier when stating that its made by the same person that made The Wrestler, it doesn't really matter that I've seen this same story played out nearly 15 times in the last 20 years, i still find myself wanting more, and even though my logical mind is telling me what is going to happen, I still am shocked when I see it unfold. Thats truly a feat, to make me not care that I'm fully aware of whats going to happen, and love every second of it happening, its the sign of a good storyteller, you can tell the same story over and over, but its HOW you tell the story, that matters over the story that you tell. You could write a story about a little red car going beep beep beep as it drives merrily down the street to the airport to get its friend Jason who was on vacation, and thats great, but if you were to act out the story with like a transformer or a hotwheels car, that'd make it just awesome. The same concept applies here, sure we know the girl thats trying to steal the lead is gonna go insane, sure we know she's gonna try and replace the good girl we all want to be the Swan Queen, thats just what happens in movies like this, but that doesn't matter to us. We just care about how the story is told, and honestly, this one is told in such a brilliant and stunning way, that even if you didn't care for how it would unfold, you could be entertained by the visuals, and the dancing, some really amazing dancing. Even if it is Swan Lake.
So the big question, should you go to see it? Ofcourse you should! What self respecting fan of art house cinema wouldn't? You know, unless you aren't self respecting or a fan of art house cinema, then I guess you could go see Little Fockers, or Yogi Bear or some other horrible bomb or another instead, its your call. But if you're a lover of art films, or visually striking films, or believe there is far too little films about Ballerinas (both from argentina and the rest of the world), then you should give Black Swan a look, you won't forget or regret it.
Also for fun and giggles, here is the trailer...