Thursday, March 17, 2011

Black Swan

A hallucinating ballerina mutilates herself with a sharp edged object and thereafter delivers an outstanding performance as the villainous Black Swan in Swan Lake. Maybe the director needs to have done the same because wings of any description is precisely what the movie lacks.

A virile teacher/ballet-company director is a hard taskmaster who uses unnecessarily convoluted and unconventional tactics, mostly of an erotic nature, to get the kind of transcendent performance he has in mind. He starts off as a leering Dracula/Don Juan/Rasputin but gives the audience a smile in the final shot to reassure all he was just a nice guy trying to be helpful all this time. But the film itself hardly takes off from ground level and is mired in excesses of different kinds from start to end. Throw in substance induced hallucinogenic experiences, banal routines of sexuality of both shades, blur the lines between reality and delusion, and make the plot sufficiently ambiguous to give food for mental mastication on the evening after and you have the kind of pseudo sophisticated potboiler which will keep the cash boxes jingling with music rivaling that of the great Tchaikovsky. It is not worth the effort sifting reality and hallucination because it's celluloid anyway. This is the profundity of the spirit starved affluent masses, the kind of conjuring trick which surveys will reveal as commercially safe in these confabulated times, a clever Hollywood masala. A redeeming feature is the snatches from the ballet itself.

This is a very ordinary movie, one more from the assembly line, with little shelf life.


Jack L said...

At last someone that agrees with me!

I really didn't get the praise for this film, I didn't think it was particularly profound or complex or intelligent, sure Portman was good and the story had potential but it was badly handled in my opinion. I felt the same way about the Wrestler, so maybe it's just the director I don't care for. I find him to be pretentious yet immature in his filmmaking.

S. M. Rana said...

Jack L

Yes, the profundity, intelligence and complexity, as you put it, lacks authenticity. It seems laboriously sewed up.