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Black Swan (2010)
I came across the trailer of this movie in August and thought it was going to be some complex and melodramatic horror movie too obsessed with it's style to develop any characters or be interesting. The synopsis on IMDb didn't alter my impression.Frankly, I didn't even know what ballet actually was prior to watching the trailer of this movie as I have no interest in any dance form, thanks to Bollywood's song-and-dance inclusion in about every movie. Moreover, it's rated R and I'm just 14. All these points led me to avoid this movie.
But a poster of the movie caught my attention and didn't let go for a long time. Even before watching the movie, I had a nightmare which was based solely on the image of that poster. It was then that I decided to watch this movie. Somehow, I had this hunch that it was going to become one of my all-time favorite movies. That boosted my eagerness and thus I downloaded this movie.
It's about a ballet dancer, Nina who is nothing like the stereotypical image that pops into your head at the very thought of the word Ballerina. Physically, yes, but emotionally and personally, no. From the very starting, you get to know about her fragility, shyness and mental instability. Living with an overprotective mother, suffering from horrific hallucinations and experiencing inevitable loneliness, her only escape or rather pathway to happiness is a successful career as a ballerina.
Soon enough, a glimmer of hope crosses her way with the announcement of imminent opening of the season with "Swan Lake." The role of the Swan Queen becomes her ambition. It is then that her obsession overshadows every other aspect of her life.
This is clearly the most artistic movie I have seen. From the performances of the marvelous dancers, their magnificent costumes and grace to the psychic gravity of Nina's personality, everything grips you and refuses to let go. It's controlling you, just the way Nina controls each of her movements and The Black Swan's controlling her. There isn't a scene in the whole movie where you feel like, "Come on, move on." From the very first scene, you want to know what will happen to her next and with each scene, the tension intensifies. It's visually intriguing and has a brilliant screenplay. The background score, that goes aptly and beautifully with the plot, is the best of the year.
There aren't many characters as 75% of the screen time is occupied by Nina alone. Still, among the few there are, one can't afford to dislike any. From the mean and passionate director Thomas to the conservative mother, each is diverse and has a meaningful role to play in the transition Nina goes through from being the White to the Black Swan. The most important, besides that of Nina of course, is the role of lily, the existence of whom exacerbates Nina's condition to the power of ten. Each character is played perfectly by the consummate cast and what the characters demand and how the actors quench their thirst is stunning. Natalie Portman got the Globe and is definitely getting the Academy Award, though I wouldn't mind if Mila Kunis gets one, too.
Darren Aronofsky's direction is nothing short of breathtaking as his visceral vision has so much happening at the same time. He certainly deserves an Oscar for this masterpiece, though I'm sure The Social Network will get it. His direction made this nightmare an attractive woman whom you'll like to watch again and again. Beautiful but sad. He also proves the point that sad can be beautiful and it often is.
The best aspect for me is the ultimate realization. Nina doesn't know that the her life is actually taking the form of the Swan Lake until the end, where her mind reveals the very thing that can make her act perfect and she unconsciously learns how to let go, just like Thomas wants her to. The ambiguous ending adds to the seductive quality of the movie and will leave people like me gasping, satisfied beyond possibility. And for the third time in my life, I cried while watching a movie and for the first time, really felt the tears, the pain the protagonist had to go through.
My favorite movie of the year, of the decade and of forever, taking the top spot above Citizen Kane.
In one word, it's devastating.
An average start
I've read all the Harry Potter books and of course I had high expectations with the movie. I'm not disappointed.
To be candid, the movie is no competition for the magical book but it follows the book closely enough. I'm just surprised that even though everything is adapted accurately, the film manages to be colossally dull while the novel was highly interesting. Upon musing about this, I realized that it's primely the cause of the outdated visual effects. Other than that, the magical world is depicted as if the setting is that of the late nineteenth or early twentieth century. A little modern look could've helped a lot.
The acting - like the movie - is strictly average. The kids seem a little too childish and the background score sometimes feel over the top; I loved Hedwig's theme though. The direction is to be blamed for the lack or rather incompetence of the correct emphasis on certain scenes. Some irrelevant scenes feel the same as the climax, there is nothing to differentiate. Harry's Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia and his bully cousin are presented more as cartoon characters which makes the watcher refrain from taking the movie seriously. Therefore, it's supposedly viewed as a children's movie with little or no entertainment and a dull setting.
The only thing worth watching is the unfolding of the manner in which the magical world works, since this is the first installment.
I hope the sequels are going to improve and provide justice to J.K. Rowling's phenomenal series.