I promised myself I would be brave for Black Swan, I was going with two boys so had to be to avoid massive embarrassment!
Director of ‘Requiem for a Dream’ and ‘The Wrestler,’ Darren Aronofsky presents us with a new psychological thriller that exceeds all expectations. Starring stunning Natalie Portman in her most impressive performance to date, this is a must-see. The story revolves around a production of the famous Tchaikovsky masterpiece Swan Lake at the prestigious New York City Ballet. In this version the leading ballerina must dance as the white and black swan showing the contrasting personalities with equally convincing power and compassion. Nina (Portman) is a perfect white swan, but Lily (Kunis) is a better match for the fearless black alter ego. We watch as Nina struggles to embody both personalities, fighting forces within herself to reach a terrifying outcome.
We decided to see the film at the Ritzy cinema in Brixton. I always glanced at this arty venue from my passing bus and was intrigued about it so was glad to be finally visiting. Turns out this is the place to be on a Saturday night in Brixton, the building was packed and with good reason, the Ritzy seems to have it all: great food, casual bar area, and best of all fabulous old school screens for showing films.
The film itself is horrific and magical at the same time. Showing the beauty of the ballet entwined with a shocking story of mental illness, a twisted tale that at times is too gruesome to watch. Portman certainly does throw herself into the role, I didn’t doubt her character for one moment, and her dancing is quite sublime, especially considering her non-ballet background. Aronofsky’s vision is quite beautifully realised with every detail attended to. There are parts towards the end that I couldn’t watch and I heard squeals around the auditorium from other spectators having a similar reaction. Warning: this is not a film for the faint-hearted, but if you can bear it, it is a wonderful piece of cinema.
And with Black Swan comes a sudden increase in ballet's popularity. It seems the Royal Opera House has cleverly cashed in on this opportunity staging Swan Lake at the time of the film’s UK release. Tickets have completely sold out for the entire run, an unusual occurrence for the ROH, I can only guess it is due to the film’s success.
Book tickets to see something at The Ritzy here.