Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Natalie Portman- Black Swan (2010)

This gloriously shot, spectacularly acted, and wonderfully scored psycho-sexual thriller places Natalie Portman at the head of contemporary actors. With films like Hesher (Susser, 2010), V For Vendetta (McTeigue, 2006), and Garden State (Braff, 2004), Portman has developed her skills as an actress and her characterization of troubled ballerina Nina Sayers in Black Swan (Aronofsky, 2010) earns her the honor of Ultimate Woman of Horror.


With the classic ballet Swan Lake at its core, Black Swan features Portman at her finest as the young ballerina given the role of the Swan Queen. As the pressure of the lead role begins to get to her, Nina slowly begins to question her sanity. With a rival dancer gunning for the position and a mother regulating her life, Nina has a lot to deal with. Portman's performance is a prime example of the vulnerable dancer, willing to do anything to succeed in her first lead role.


The perfectly executed dancing sequences set the film apart from other pictures that live in the world of ballet. This on its own would provide the viewer with enough reason to watch the film. The eerie and ethereal nature of the plot push the film into even darker territory as Nina's internal struggle fills the screen and crawls under your skin. Portman clearly deserved the Academy Award given to her, and proved that the art of legendary performance is not dead.


While not the traditional choice when debating the possibility of a scary movie night, Black Swan proves that horror can also double as Oscar-bait. Aronofsky's film, which I have no doubt will become a classic, raised the bar for cinema in 2010. Portman, along with the supporting roles of Vincent Cassel, Mila Kunis, Barbara Hershey, and Winona Ryder brings the characters the life in a way that is rarely experienced on screen. I would love to say that one of these supporting actors enhanced the film with their performances and gave Portman great material to bounce off of, but they all did. Every single minor role in this film was casted perfectly.


The final execution of Swan Lake at the end of the film is truly one of the greatest moments in contemporary cinematic history. Every step was captured perfectly, and as the score swells dramatically, one cannot help to be attacked emotionally as Nina performs on screen. So, to add a bit of cinematic credibility to your horror film screenings, pop in Black Swan and marvel at Portman's spectacular performance.

Check back tomorrow for another exciting Ultimate Woman of Horror!

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