Monday, December 27, 2010
Once you go black...
First, read Casey's review, which is better than anything my lazy blogging ass is likely to cobble together. I agree with his post point-for-point, except for the brief mention of The Wrestler, which I've not seen yet.
The film positively reeks of Cronenberg and Polanski as Casey notes--the main character's descent into madness is very reminiscent of Polanski's Repulsion. It has Cronenberg's fascination with flesh and wounds and mutations; Polanski's oddball humor is apparent throughout. I laughed uncomfortably several times during Black Swan.
I think Aronofsky has also watched Adrian Lyne's Jacob's Ladder about a billion times. There are many visual and audio clues which I shan't discuss lest I ruin the surprise. And though the movie is indeed "psychological horror," it's also a dark fable along the lines of Pan's Labyrinth.
Black Swan was a dizzying entertainment. It's the best ballet film since The Red Shoes, and the best film of its type since Dead Ringers. The dance sequences are magical and monstrous. The performances are universally good. Barbara Hershey scared the shit out of me. I'm tempted now to re-read Conrad's "The Secret Sharer" to suss out the doppleganger theme. But in a nutshell the film is about the creative process gone terribly wrong. Artists must confront the Shadow in order to more fully express themselves. Tightly-wound, exquisite Nina loses the confrontation but her art succeeds. She could have shouted "Look ma! I'm on top of the world!" at the end.