What do you know about Black Swan? If you know a lot or have seen it then this doesn’t apply to you; It’s not what you think it is. General knowledge of it seems to be that it’s about Swan Lake, there’s some lesbian sex in it and that seems to be what’s well known about it. Well yes, it is about a production of Swan Lake and yes there is a lesbian sex scene but regardless of whether you’re a fan of those two things or not it’s a film that’s well worth seeing.
So the story centres around Nina, a soloist in the company who is desperate to show her talent and perfection and win the role of Swan Queen in her companies new production of Swan Lake. She has a very strange relationship with her mother, who is controlling and demanding in equal measure, and allows an almost total lack of privacy at home.
When it comes to trying to win the role the artistic director, Thomas, tells Nina if he were only casting the White Swan she would have the role, but she has to dance the part of the the Black Swan too and she can’t free herself from needing to be perfect and let her darker side loose. When she confronts him about wanting the role he makes suggestions that he would give her the role if she were willing to give him something in return and kisses her. When she fends him off by biting him he sees something of her darker side and casts her in the role, bringing her some spite from the other soloists. Except, seemingly, from the new comer, Lily, who tries to befriend her.
Whole rehearsing the role Thomas constantly tells Nina she has to let go of herself and let her dark side flow out and become more sensual and seductive. And when she doesn’t he takes things in to his own hands and dances with her, seducing her before walking out telling her she needs to be the one doing the seducing through the dance.
As the film goes on things start to become more and more obviously unhinged. Near the start Nina is already seeing a doppelgänger around but as the film goes on she begins to see her reflection, and there are a lot of mirrors for her to see this on, making it’s own movements and losing a grip on what happened and what didn’t happen. The film treads the line between being psychological thriller and out and out horror of insanity. The combination of dancing Swan Lake, classical music and score make for a really captivating set of aural and visual stimulation, that at times have you on the end of your seat, while the psychological horror can be quite emotionally powerful to watch.
More effective than most horrors of late at putting your nerve on edge and quite enchanting to watch at the same time. Definitely a film to see on the big screen. I loved it from start to finish.