(Black Swan, 2010 – Fox Searchlight)
I was fifteen when I first saw this film and I remember strongly liking it. So I thought it was a safe bet for a simple watch. Turns out I was wrong, it’s not very good. While obviously Natalie Portman’s performance is great and complexly simple, the film just doesn’t do much more than what it presents bluntly. As soon as you recognise that it is a literal retelling of Swan Lake but in real life, the whole thing becomes quite tedious and I was glad when the film ended. The thing is, the way this film creates that sense of psychological thriller is great – for the first 30 minutes that is. Afterwards, every single time Natalie Portman’s face appears on another woman, every moment she does something but then actually doesn’t do something cause its in her mind, just becomes gimmicky and not important to the plot.
It felt very immature in its execution, like a student film that feels the need to drive every point home. It’s overdone sadly. It’s interesting to see Mila Kunis in a non-comedy role though, something she barely strays from now, even Jupiter Ascending was laughably appalling.
When I watched Hitchcock/Truffaut the other week David Fincher spoke about how people have this perception that if a film doesn’t do well in its first week, its dead forever. He argued that for a film like vertigo which is now voted number one in the critics canon of cinema, this isn’t the case. I feel like the same is true if something comes across as good in the first watch near cinematic release, 6 years later it isn’t necessarily going to remain as prominent and good as it did in your mind.
That’s my judgement of great cinema, something that lasts decades without faltering in quality, or maybe I was just a naive fifteen year with no way of critically understanding cinema.