The 2010 Venice Film Festival opened with a bang (especially considering what has followed). For those of you who have been craving unique film-going experience that will baffle the mind (and if you were like me Inception wasn’t enough for you) Darren Aronofsky‘s latest film Black Swan might just do the trick!
Get ready to have you brain put in a blender and enjoy the ride, here we go…
- Director: Darren Aronofsky
- Story By: Andres Heinz
- Screenplay By: Mark Heyman and Andres Heinz
- Starring: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel, Winona Ryder
- The Intensity: Unlike many of the other movies at the festival this one immediately grabs you and keeps you in a chock-hold until the credits roll. From the first shot on screen the film sets a fast pace and is not only able to keep the momentum but build on it until the final cathartic moment. Not bad considering this is a film entirely about ballet, with probably 20 or more minutes of dance involved in it. Leave it to Aronofsky to make it interesting.
- The Character: Once again, Aronofsky focuses on a character’s journey and gives us the opportunity to truly experience their world through there eyes – whether it be wrestling, drugs, cancer or now dancing — he always seems show us the bloody heart beating beneath the surface. He focuses on one thing, one subject and everything else merely adds to that characters development (which is refreshing to see when you’re trapped in a world where some filmmakers seem to get lost trying to express their views instead of their characters).
- The Focus: As I spoke about with the character being focused, the film itself is also very clear on its mission. Though at times it may be confusing and you won’t know what’s real and what’s not, the film stays always on track, with a clear target despite the mind-boggling events taking place.
- Something Different: Though this is very much a character piece (which we have seen before from Aronofsky), the film itself is once again quite different from anything he’s done before– he continues to keep surprise us from one movie to the next. He brings a similar quality from film to film but always keeps his audiences on their toes and in this film he in no way disappoints.
- The Effects: Though there were some more extreme special effects, they used them rather sparingly and more often than not the effects were simple and yet moving with the assistance of some effective sound and music — it seems like he did it the good old fashioned way with a few modern tools.
- Overall Quality: This seems like something that should be obvious, but it’s always refreshing to see a film well made with all the boxes ticked, it’s entertaining, well acted, well shot, good pace… it’s the whole package.
- Comprehensive Ending: It’s nice to know that even though you’ve gone through such an insane experience and even though not everything is necessarily “answered” for you, you have a very conclusive ending that should leave you very satisfied.
The Bad (But Not Really Bad):
- Needs a Re-watch: Now this is not necessarily a bad thing, in fact in many ways it’s a great thing. I simply have to re-watch the film to really see if all the pieces of the puzzle actually fit together — they appeared to at first glance, but there were so many subtleties that I definitely need to take a a second trip to the theater to see if it all really made sense. So I’ll reserve judgment on that for later on…
- Not for everyone: This is one of those films that you’ll either love or not, BUT it’s very hard not to respect what he’s done. This is a very bold film with many strong choices. Chances are that you’ll love it, but if you are among the few who don’t, know that this is a quality film that is far superior to many of the other films hitting theaters.
It’s yet another amazing piece of cinematic art to add to Aronofsky’s collection. It’s fast paced, suspenseful, interesting and dare I finally say it – mind-blowing. Don’t miss it! And if you want to be able to understand everything, be sure to leave yourself time to see it again!
Black Swan will be premiering at Toronto Film Festival soon and debuts in theaters on December 1st.