DVD: Black Swan (15)
Friday 13 May 2011
How do you solve a problem like Aronofsky? His films are so full of vim and tricksiness, but precious little humanity (Mickey Rourke's fighter in The Wrestler perhaps being the exception).
And this is the third time the film-maker has cinematically tortured his lead actress. Jennifer Connelly and Ellen Burstyn were tormented in his deeply unpleasant, nihilistic Requiem for a Dream, and now it's Natalie Portman's turn as the neurotic, hugely driven ballerina Nina Sayers, who lives with Erica (the always wonderful Barbara Hershey), her deranged mother and a former dancer herself.
Nina is fixated with bagging the lead role in the New York City ballet's exciting new version of Swan Lake, but the company's ripe artistic director (Vincent Cassel) isn't convinced she has the requisite sexual menace and wickedness to play the Black Swan. He encourages Nina with homework assignments such as "go home and touch yourself", and insists that he doesn't "want there to be any boundaries between us". You didn't get this sort of kinkiness in The Red Shoes, and Black Swan isn't really a dance picture at all, but an unsavoury, and regularly baffling, psychological horror.
Portman gives it her all – which mainly involves wearing a pained expression throughout – but the best performances here are from Mila Kunis as her saucy rival, and Hershey as the damaged "Mommie Dearest". Plus, a rather poignant turn from Winona Ryder.
Look beyond the usual shows for the best festive telly
Geoffrey Macnab does not like the comedian's big screen debut
The battle for control of Stieg Larsson's £30m legacy
Arts & Ents blogs
Heavy rain and years of 'benign neglect' may have caused Apollo Theatre roof collapse
Christmas TV guide 2013: Look beyond the usual shows for the best festive telly
Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
Justin Bieber isn't retiring from music after all
The Harry Hill Movie, film review: Screenplay isn't so much offbeat as utterly feeble
Exclusive: Young people ‘want UK to stay in Europe’: Four in 10 adults aged 18 to 24 are ‘firmly in favour’ of membership, poll shows
Tom Daley ‘is gay because his father died’ says UK evangelist
Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
David Cameron takes his biggest gamble yet as he gets tough on Europe over immigration
PM denies two child limit for benefits is part of Tory welfare policy
- 1 Tim Sherwood challenges Daniel Levy to set out vision for Tottenham Hotspur’s future
- 2 French pub fined €9,000 after customers returned empties to bar - because it's 'undeclared labour'
- 3 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 4 #Teamnigella: It’s the only side to be on
- 5 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
- < Previous
- Next >