Pressure is a tough thing. When I was asked to perform in front of a class (as was everyone else at some point) I started going nuts! Demons would be crawling under the gap in the door, I’d start drinking five bottles of Lucozade a day and even begin listening to Bruno Mars! I’d surely cracked under the heat, but Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman) gets the pressure problems a little harder. Don’t believe everything you see, don’t expect everything to be.
Nina is a sweet, innocent girl chosen to play the lead in the rather gritty rendition of Swan Lake. She can play the White Swan perfectly, but the Black Swan is her problem. Too close to the rules, she must loosen up and allow the darkness to take her. Ballet is serious business and with a creepy director, over protective mother and slightly stalkerish friend, things quickly become too much to bear. It all builds up with lots of ballet training, which is a little dull, but when we see her embrace the darkness things heat up. Reality starts to become unclear and the madness is glorious.
The ballet may not be of interest to a great deal of people, bu the physical nature works well. We can see her changes on how her performance adapts to the problems she faces and the final performance is breathtaking. The bombastic music, the full transformation of Nina and the flamboyant ballet makes up for any lessons we had to put up with at the start. The fact she has gone a bit whacko by this point also brings that edge of unpredictability. Did she really do that? What does this mean? Holy crap, that woman has just stabbed a knife in her face! And so on.
Slow plodding opening which reiterates her innocence for too long might hamper the first act, but Black Swan throws you round the stage once it moves into the second act. Sexy and messed up. How I like my girls.