Black Swan ★★★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Black Swan feels claustrophobic, tense, and progressively more nightmarish as the film goes on.

Director Aronofsky achieves this effect through a number of cinematographic tricks that force the audience into Nina's ballet shoes. First, Aronofsky's cameras focus heavily on Nina in closeup shots. When Nina isn't in a direct close up, she can often be seen in one of the many mirrors strategically placed in almost every scene. When not directly framed by the camera or a mirror, Aronofsky also operates cameras from her point of view, fluidly diving the camera through the air when Nina leaps and spinning the camera in a circle while she turns. While at the club, the camera movement becomes more chaotic, and retains this quality up until the final act when Nina achieves her status as the Swan Queen and dances confidently but menacingly. These close ups, mirrors, and point of view shots force the audience to see the world from Nina's perspective and feel her insecurities.

Through the use of these techniques (and aided by Natalie Portman's powerful performance as Nina), Aronofsky forces the audience to feel trapped alongside Nina as she recognizes her lack of agency throughout her life and grows mentally unhinged.

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