DIRECTED BY DARREN ARONOFSKY
STARRING: NATALIE PORTMAN, VINCENT CASSEL, MILA KUNIS, BARBARA HERSHEY, BENJAMIN MILLEPIED AND WINONA RYDER
Back in home territory after a break in form of his 2008 film ‘the Wrestler’, director Darren Aronofsky looks to further upon his ‘Requiem for a Dream’ footing, with this inept interpretation of the Tchaikovsky classic ‘Swan Lake’. A minor replacement of a similar-looking Jennifer Connelly with a more convincing tragedy queen and a cunning extrapolation of the already-thriving sensuality of a certain Mila Kunis, Aronofsky goes to show once again how no one can leech on actors’ potential than he can, building a psychological drama on the ruins of a so-called script, unimpressive music and disengaging cinematography that is only too real to be dealing with a subject as this.
Having said that, I cannot help but let two icons go headfirst upon each other with an unlikely film-comparison which, I feel, is not entirely inappropriate. ‘Black Swan’ to me felt like an over-dramatized and yet underdone a version of Atom Egoyan’s 2009 film ‘Chloe’. Natalie Portman reminded me only too much of Julianne Moore in the latter and I couldn’t help but sense a trigger. Let me also do another odd but worthy comparison of the kid-interns in the two flicks – Amanda Seyfried versus Mila Kunis. And I see no big difference, with both of them having portrayed roles that people could walk away with (which is predominantly why they both were able to do them and well!) and I seriously do not understand the credit received on either’s part. I mean, I could even sympathize with Seyfried’s titular role of ‘Chloe’, but lauding a mere figment of imagination? I thought the world could do way better than that, I’m sorry.
Here, Aronofsky shows the dancers to be vengeful, spiteful and what not – maybe he could inspire the very same in them, a sort of reverse-osmosis. As ever, he champions the knack of stripping the experts of their clothes and basks in the feat of exposing their nakedness to the world, well, he only takes a step further when it comes to ballerinas. And yet, he finds himself most strongly backed by a fired-up Natalie Portman, who looks determined to grow out of her body as Miss Kunis finds herself at home doing the same. Vincent Cassel, another one of grace and finesse although he goes overboard at times, joins the force in this actor-driven, joke of a film that is as shameless as its maker in hiding behind the skirts it’s supposed to bring to light. Perhaps the intention is contained in self, in Thomas Leroy’s advertisement for seduction than substance; perhaps that is what genius is all about but quite frankly, I don’t care.
Incessant theme, indistinctive voiceover from stage to set, ill-deployed homosexuality, cheap thrills? The black swan would be bored to death with this stereotype of cacophonies and let me tell you something – the whites won’t like to do too much with it either. And I’m just talking about swans, mind you.