Innocence lost

Set around the production of the ballet, Swan Lake, Black Swan is a somewhat risque and scary movie which ends up engulfing the viewer in a labyrinth of twists and turns.

For many Australians ballet is not the perfect subject for a film. Before I saw the movie, I was of the same opinion, yet I left the cinema engaged by the story line and in particular the brilliance of Natalie Portman’s acting.

The story is about Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman) who is in her 20s and still lives with her mother. She has no friends and is tucked into her bed at night by her mother with her ballerina music box opened to get her to sleep.

Nina is a passionate ballerina and when the ageing lead in her dance company is told to retire, Nina fights hard to win the lead role in the opening ballet of the season, Swan Lake.

The ballet director Thomas Leroy, played by Vincent Cassel, is impressed with Nina’s dedication. While he thinks her innocence is perfect for the White Swan, he sees it as a barrier to her fulfilling the other role of the darker Black Swan. Thomas leans towards giving these roles to a fiery and impulsive girl named Lily, played by Mila Kunis.

At times you do not know if you are watching something being imagined in the minds of the characters or what is really happening, as the director has intended. A number of scenes throughout the movie make you squirm in your seat, adding to the thrill of the movie. The scenes in the movie involving sex are a little too in-your-face for my liking but were necessary to build the story line. This is why it achieved an R-rating in America (only MA15+ here).

A drama which builds into a suspense thriller, leaving the viewer both engulfed and satisfied.

Check out the trailer for yourself.

Reviewed by Drew Patchell

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