I did not like Black Swan at first, but now that I’ve thought about it for a little while, I think I can respect it. I wouldn’t call it a masterpiece, but I do appreciate the fact that there are many different theories and interpretations for it. I enjoyed some of the creepy thrills, and Natalie Portman’s good performance. The parts I didn’t enjoy as much were some of the less subtle touches that were used.
Natalie Portman played her character very well. She captured the timid, eggshell spirit of her character Nina naturally. She made you feel very uncomfortable and upset by the various forces that she felt were harassing and abusing her in her life. Mila Kunis also did an effective job playing Nina’s potential rival.
I liked some of the creepy, subtle touches in the film, like the eyes in a painting moving, or the reflections that were half a second too slow. They really made you wonder whether you imagined them or not, and made you question your own judgment, just as Nina would be doing. The club scene was handled very well also. The strobe lights made it impossible to tell Portman from Kunis, which I’m sure was intentional. I also noticed the “black swan” version of Nina appeared very quickly in a few shots. Effects like these have been done in many movies, notably Shutter Island earlier this year, but I’m always a sucker for scary shots that are barely noticeable, and require a second or third viewing to catch.
The fact that these scenes were handled so well made it more disappointing when the less subtle aspects of the film appeared. It bothered me how obvious the outfits represented the good and evil personalities, or the “white” and “black“ swans. Portman wore white in the beginning, and as she began her transformation her clothes grew gradually darker, ending in black. And her rival, played by Mila Kunis, wore black the entire time. I didn’t think this was necessary. Everyone in the audience knows Nina is spiraling downward. We didn’t need her to put on a black shirt to inform us that she’s switching into evil mode now.
While I was not a huge fan of Black Swan, I like the fact that if you go onto the message boards of imdb.com, everyone has a different theory about the film. About what was real, who was being manipulated, and what the ending meant. Movies like this are great for discussion. I’d just personally rather discuss Mulholland Dr., or Barton Fink, which have all the interpretations, without the obviousness.