The other day I went to go see Black Swan with my artsy friends. It’s not that I don’t like art, I do, but it’s not the first thing that draws me to see a movie. Just when I started to get tired of hearing my friends rave about how epic the film was going to be, I saw a TV spot that changed my perspective. Turns out, the arty film is actually a psychological thriller, a modern take on Swan Lake, in which Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis (the brunette chick from That 70’s Show, who, as it turns out, is a pretty good actress) star. The two are ballet dancers at a New York dance company, and Portman’s character, Nina, fits the White Swan perfectly, having innocence, but Kunis’ Lily has the darkness that better fits the Black Swan. The two establish a twisted friendship that plays out in a mind-boggling thriller, laced with graphic cinematography and, noticeably, a heavy emphasis on the contrast between light and dark.
If you’re watching this movie for plot, you won’t get much. Most of the entertainment comes from watching how director Darren Aronofsky tells the story rather than the story itself. It doesn’t do much for psychological games either (say, compared to Inception) – if you don’t know the story of Swan Lake before watching the movie, Nina let’s you know how the play (and the movie) goes midway through the film. But if you watch the movie to see how artfully the story is told, to see incredible cinematography work (*spoiler alert* I particularly loved this very brief shot), and to see how well-played, well-developed the characters, you’re in for a phenomenal two hours of film-watching. I’m not a major art/fashion connoisseur, but I enjoyed this film just as much as my arty friends.
Image: Fox Searchlight Pictures