Austin News


BLACK SWAN is a “Delirious Fever-Dream of a Psychosexual Thriller”

We are so excited about opening BLACK SWAN at the Ritz on Friday. We saw it already and we want you to know: it's going to blow you away. If you've seen the trailer, you know to be very, very excited. Prepare yourself for the most talked-about movie this season, a film that is, as Lou Lumenick says in the NY Post, a "delirious fever-dream."

BLACK SWAN is the story of Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman), a virginal ballerina who goes down a rabbit hole of self discover/destruction when she lands the role of the Swan Queen in a production of Swan Lake. It opened limited last weekend to enormous returns, far exceeding anyone's expectations, and it's rising fast - this is going to be the fiery hit of the winter. Its connection with audiences is in large part due to the tremendous reception it's been getting from the critics, who are loving the film and are quick to give it the praise it deserves.

Much of BLACK SWAN's greatness comes from director Darren Aronofsky's flair for style. The film "lures its viewers into a woozy nightmare," according Elizabeth Weitzman of the New York Daily News, and in telling the story of a ballerina trapped in her bubbling psyche, Aronofsky "exposes the destructive obsession that sparks breathtaking beauty." Wesley Morris of the Boston Globe echoes, writing that it's a "a work of nasty surrealism."

"Perched on the edge of madness," continues Morris: "The movie looms in the memory. It’s superbly calibrated for one thing. Aronofsky uses cinema to fully inhabit a character’s kaleidoscopic ruptures." On the other side of that quality, the character would be thin were it not for Natalie Portman's brilliant turn as the frigid young dancer. The "smashing, bruising, wholly committed more art than autobiography, and as a consequence more honest," pens Manohla Dargis in the New York Times, who gave the film its Critics Pick for the week. Another writer giving the film the Critics Pick, The Washington Post's Ann Hornaday also compliments the star's amazing feat, "Portman delivers an uncompromising performance, whether she's called on to be fragile or recklessly bold."

Even Roger Ebert chimes in, saying that this is a "performance by Natalie Portman that is nothing short of heroic. "The film opens with a dream, and it becomes clear that her dream life is contiguous with her waking one. Aronofsky and Portman follow this fearlessly where it takes them." Similarly, Peter Travers in Rolling Stone comments, "Portman's portrait of an artist under siege is unmissable and unforgettable. So is the movie. You won't know what hit you." That's a pretty strong endorsement.

Travers, always good for a laugh, leaves us with this perplexing comparison: "Director Darren Aronofsky does to ballet what Kanye West does to rap." I think that's reason enough to see this awesome film.

BLACK SWAN starts Friday at the Ritz. Hurry to see it this weekend so you can see it again next weekend and try to figure it out.

News Categories: General News, Austin, Coming Soon


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