DirkH’s review published on Letterboxd:
Whenever asked to define what the horror genre is to me, I always refer to the works of Edgar Allen Poe, particularly his story the Sphinx. This is a story about a man who is stressed as everyone around him is dying of cholera. He retreats to a country home. There, while sitting at a window, he sees a huge monster running towards his cabin. He is stressed out of his mind, convinced this is a sign of his own imminent death. In the end it was merely a spider that was dangling a couple of inches in front of his eyes. His stressed mind created the monster, feeding his feeling of loss of control over the situation around him. Horror, to me, is about that. The slow descent into madness, caused by one's own mind. Whenever I'm asked now, I also refer to Black Swan.
Ever since Pi I've been a fan of Aranovski. I find his films exciting and innovative. With Black Swan he has crafted the perfect horror tale. I have seldom seen a descent into a self created abyss of madness depicted so well as in this film.
This is, of course, carried by Portman's central performance. She is simply stunning. The constant look of fear in her eyes and slow awareness of her loss of control is acted to perfection.
I like the fact that this film mirrors The Wrestler in both style and form. Whereas the Wrestler gives a more realistic depiction of the troubles existing in the world of the 'low arts', this film deals with the pressure and extreme competition of the ' high arts'. But in the guise of a disturbing horror film.