Riveting themes and expressive dancing tie the suspenseful film, “The Black Swan”, into a thrilling masterpiece. This gripping film follows the undertaking of a shy ballet dancer who struggles to succeed in the ambitious world of a professional ballerina. Released in the Christmas season of 2010, this extraordinary work of art showcases the technical genius of director Darren Aronofsky, as well as dark and sinister themes. Alongside Aronofsky’s ingenuity, follows the enthralling performance of impeccable actors such as Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, and Vincent Cassel. With a masterful director, an impressive cast and a twisted plot filled with tragedy, “The Black Swan” portrays the dark side of the entertainment industry in a way unlike any other.
The movie follows a young ballerina named Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman). Nina’s entire life revolves around the world of ballet, to which she is insanely dedicated. As an excellent dancer, Nina pours her focus into the technical aspects of her skill, her work devoid of any emotion. Despite her shortcomings, Nina successfully lands both parts for the white swan and black swan in her “Swan Lake” performance. To capture the essence of her role, Nina must overcome her innocent nature that has been suppressed by her controlling helicopter mother in order to succeed in taking on her darker demeanor. As the crushing burden to perform perfectly builds up, Nina starts to crack under the pressure of failing in her debut performance, driving her to the point of insanity. Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel), her producer, attempts to ruffle Nina’s feathers in order to prod the black swan that he sees buried within her. An elegant and mysterious dancer, Lily (Mila Kunis), sweeps onto the floor as her understudy, Nina becomes more paranoid, fearing that this newcomer will undermine her blooming career.
One of the film’s greatest accomplishments is the depiction of Nina’s mental health and her imminent psychosis. Aronofsky successfully makes use of light and dark shades of colour and occasionally dramatic lighting to intensify Nina’s state of wellbeing for the duration of the film. Through technical prowess and unpredictable special effects, Aronofsky works with shadow and mirrors to whet the ballerina’s plunge into insanity. Close to the finale, Nina fights against her “dark side” before the start of her debut. This results in the shattering of the mirror in her dressing room which encompasses her surrender to the “black swan”. Consistently, throughout the film, mirrors depict her true state of psyche as she hallucinates her transformation into her darker half. As Portman’s character gives into her more berserk and deranged self, she finally takes on her dark demeanor. Her transition into the black swan will become a passionate display of talent and the ultimate performance. As tragedy infers, Nina reaches the peak of her abilities, only for her “use” to fade, just so, another will replace her. As a result of interpretation and Aronofsky’s unique themes and effects, this might depict an unseen side of the entertainment industry. As entertainment goes, the industry manipulates artists and creators to reach the absolute peak of their talent and evolve into their black swan form. Then, coincidentally, they are canned when the swan effect fades away and they lose their “use”. Aronofsky creates this idea through the characterization of Beth (Winona Ryder), an older dancer whose performances have fallen short of perfect and is forced to leave the spotlight to allow for a refreshing debutant, namely Nina. Even though the film ends in tragedy, viewers are left with a whimsical and gripping performance that emphasizes artistic freedom and the price of perfection.
Aronofsky created a hypnotic and thrilling masterpiece that can be profoundly interpreted on a number of different levels. Through masterful use of contrast and shadows; lighting throughout the film moves Nina’s failing psychological state into a downward spiral that bares all to the viewer’s experience. Full of compelling themes, “The Black Swan” reveals the manipulating dark side of the entertainment industry. Also, the artistic brilliance of mirrors and other effects used in the film reflect the creative genius of the themes Aronofsky tries to portray. As the production draws to a conclusion, Portman’s figure slowly fades to white in a tasteful soft light, leaving the audience with vague and obscure emotions as the picture comes to a close.