|Directed by:||Darren Aronofsky|
|Written by:||Mark Heyman, John McLaughlin|
|Cast:||Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel, Winona Ryder, Barbara Hershey, Sebastian Stan, Kristina Anapau|
|Studio:||Fox Searchlight Pictures|
Got around to seeing Black Swan again and have finally made my mind up on the film.
While it's not a terrible film, it's not a good one. In a word I'd describe it as messy, and it very much misses the mark for the most part in terms of tone and execution. I'm a huge fan of psychological thrillers and 'trip' movies but this one just didn't seem to know what it wanted to be, or how to do it. Yeah there are all those 'weird' moments but none of them really have any real powerful effect, and unfortunately some of them even warrant unintentional laughs.
The script is all over the place, and while it manages to hold up for the most part til the end, it always feels like it's just barely holding on, just barely being able to stay on board rather than falling off the edge. The acting throughout ranges from bad to great, which is odd yet unfortunate as Natalie Portman really does give it her all, but the unfocused direction, and writing of her character to a lesser extent, really hurts her character in the end.
On top of that it never really feels like any of the characters evolve, they just feel like they hopped from point A to B to C rather than actually graduating from one to the other, and the same can be said for the dance numbers in the film and the progress that the main character was supposedly making -- it just wasn't there to be seen or presented well at all, we were rather just told that she made progress.
The music works at times and feels neat in a few scenes, but at other times the rambunctiousness, over the top score takes away from what's going on the screen and that attention it takes away really hurts the film. Great scores are unique, but feel in line with the movie, one with the movie, and more than anything evoke emotion instead of having the audience actually listen to the music. Unfortunately for the most part it's really bolder than it should've been.
While the direction is a bit sloppy as a whole, the camera work for the most part is impressive, along with the supporting factors of that including the lighting. One draw back though in respect to the camera work was a few of the shots near the beginning where it just felt TOO Aronofsky. You know, his camera 'staple' where it seems like he's bobbling the camera around in his hand like there's a mild earthquake going on while he's filming. I don't mind the style, but when it was used at that point it just felt unneeded for the scene, out of place and more than anything distracting.
Overall Black Swan is a decent film that could've been a great psychological thriller. Instead it winds up being a throwaway experiment with shades of good and great, with a body of mediocre and less. More than anything it's a confused film and one that feels like Aronofsky was a bit nervous or unsure with, at least that's the way it seems after watching it a few times - because he, and the rest of the crew, dropped the ball on this one. Not recommended.