Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Date Night - Black Swan

Plot: Nina (Portman) is a ballerina in a New York City ballet company whose life, like all those in her profession, is completely consumed with dance. She lives with her obsessive former ballerina mother Erica (Hershey) who exerts a suffocating control over her. When artistic director Thomas Leroy (Cassel) decides to replace prima ballerina Beth MacIntyre (Ryder) for the opening production of their new season, Swan Lake, Nina is his first choice. But Nina has competition: a new dancer, Lily (Kunis), who impresses Leroy as well. Swan Lake requires a dancer who can play both the White Swan with innocence and grace, and the Black Swan, who represents guile and sensuality. Nina fits the White Swan role perfectly but Lily is the personification of the Black Swan. As the two young dancers expand their rivalry into a twisted friendship, Nina begins to get more in touch with her dark side - a recklessness that threatens to destroy her. via.

Matt's Rating: A-

Nicole's Rating: A

Matt: I can't get Black Swan out of my head.

Nicole: I know... me either. You ready to review this shit?

M: Yeah. I just noticed something interesting though. if you look at the IMDb credits, each character name has an alternate title like Nina/The Swan Queen.

N: Yeah, I saw that. The movie plays out like the ballet.

M: I kind of figured as much. It will definitely get nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards.

N: Do you think it's worthy of it? I know you have your own ideas of what makes an award winning movie.

M: I think it's worth it. It forces the audience to think about what they are watching...and thats an art that has been lost in recent cinema. I also thought that early on in the movie I was invested in Nina. Which speaks to Natilie Portman's acting, which was really good. Not amazing but pretty fuckin good.

N: I thought she was pretty amazing. In any role she takes... she's never the same.

M: She has a termendous amount of range. Plus shes sexy. Not so much in this one unless your into really freaky shit I thought Kunis didnt have enough screen time to truly shine but maybe that was done on purpose

N: Well.. it's not her story If you think about what we saw in the ballet the Black Swan only has one act even though she changes the whole course of the story. Mila Kunis is essentially the Black Swan. (sidenote: I'm basing this off the movie. I've never seen the ballet)

M: Good point. You're smart.

N: I try.

M: But I like Aronofsky's style. It's dark and creepy but realistic all at once.

N: I was thinking... I know you haven't seen a lot of his other movies. And I've not seen Fountain or Wrestler but I love both Pi and Requiem... Black Swan seems to follow the same sort of themes of both of his early movies except... you can tell he's grown as a director.

M: I don't know enough of his work to judge. I liked the Wrestler better but it's a different type of movie. This was a thriller and borderline horror with some pretty trippy stuff going on but it was all done very subtly, which I applaud. He didn't hit us over the head with the creepy stuff.

N: I was insanely creeped out. It was subtle, but I was definitely shaken by it.

M: I think "mentally shaken" is the best way to describe how I felt when I left the theater.

N: For sure. So what are you going to give it?

M: I'm going to give it an A-. It's pretty darn good and a great piece of cinema but it's a couple moments short of being great. I can tell you right now, there are going to be people who see it, think its too weird and immediatly dismiss it as too odd and therefore bad. And thats a shame...these are the same people who will love Transformers 3

N: How does Transformers 3 come into this?

M: It doesn't and shouldn't...but somehow did...and thats why I hate it. I was trying to say that the general public have become numb to good films and just want to see boobies and robots. So whats your grade?

N: I think I'm going to give it an A. Because there were a couple parts that I thought were a little cheesy. Not full of cheese, but just.... the movie would have been better off without them. I hated the scene with Winona in the hospital. And some of the turning into the swan stuff was a bit over the top.

M: Its also a movie that I think needs to be viewed a couple times to truly grasp it. Which is usually the sign of a good movie.

N: Would you go see it again?

M: Yes, but I'm also a film nerd. I think most people wouldn't. I would go to see it again, not because I liked it so much, but to understand it better and study it as a film.

N: I would too... I think I'm going to buy it when it comes out. And now I want to catch up and see The Fountain and The Wrestler. Closing thoughts?

M: It's definitely a Top 5 movie of the year and it will keep your mind reeling for hours. But, it's a little too weird at times.

N: Agreed.

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