Black Swan ★★★★★

WOW.

Gripping, intense, seductive, bizarre, and visually-striking from start to finish, Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan is a deeply horrifying psychological character study of an individual who is slowly slipping into madness.

Natalie Portman truly delivered one of the greatest performances in cinematic history. She is Nina Sayers, a timid ballerina girl who wants to take the role of both the White Swan and Black Swan. Her innocence and vulnerability makes her the perfect choice for the role of White Swan, but her dance director has some doubts on whether or not she can give proper justice on portraying the Black Swan - a character that posseses intensity and seductiveness, which Nina clearly doesn't have. What happens next is a series of bizarre and disturbing episodes that depicts Nina's process of achieving the ultimate artistic perfection / becoming a more mature woman.

There are two interpretations you can take on the film's terrifying story. The first one is about the dangers of seeking the pinnacle of artistic perfection and how it can eventually destroy you at the end. Nina is constantly being pressured by her dance director and her overbearing mother to be perfect, and as a result, she is willing to punish herself in order for her to achieve and experience that kind of concept. Nina's pursuit of perfection is the root of all her troubles. It drives her mad, causing it to physically and mentally affect her.

The second one is that the entire story is basically Nina's journey into maturity and adulthood. The White Swan represents her sweet and fragile child-like innocence while her transformation into the Black Swan represents her becoming a more mature woman.

Darren Aronofsky masterfully created a beautiful yet tragic tale that parallels dramatic artistry to psychological horror. Just like Natalie Portman's character, Aronofsky is also obsessed when it comes to perfection, as evidenced by his meticulous artistic craft in making this film. One of the film's technical standouts were the beautiful yet haunting musical score (much of it was taken from 'Swan Lake') and the impressive cinematography by Matthew Libatique that combines the nightmare-ish imagery of Nina's insanity and the beautiful and elegance of the ballet world.

Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan has the power to fascinate and hypnotize you in ever level.

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