Wednesday, 3 August 2011


Sadly, this is what passes for art in Hollywood today. The film totally lacks originality the plot is cobbled together from movie cliches as old as...well, at least as old as THE RED SHOES, a far superior film, from where most of the key plot elements are taken. It is slick, looks good and, to be fair, is quite entertaining in the same way that MOMMIE DEAREST was entertaining or Glenn Close in FATAL ATTRACTION was entertaining. O.K. so we have THE RED SHOES rip off with Vincent Cassel as a sneering dance master who likes to talk dirty as a substitute for Anton Walbrook. There are (what we now call) "references" to many other popular films including Coppola's DRACULA and in the film's most alarmingly silly and hilariously awful scene to AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON (Aronofsky is quoted as saying he thinks of the film as a werewolf movie without a werewolf). Natalie Portman's much praised performance is o.k. inasmuch as she does what the scrip asks well enough and she handles the dancing scenes very well but it reminded my of two other performances (both of which I admire) : Meryl Streep in THE FRENCH LIEUTENANT'S WOMAN and Jack Nicholson in THE SHINING - both of which telegraphed the fact that their characters are mentally unstable (wheras in the source novels had a much subtler revelations) and that is what is the flaw at the heart of BLACK SWAN - it is obvious from the opening scene that poor Natalie's terrors are a product of her own mind and however awful they get they are not real. The much discussed lesbian oral sex scene is purely exploitive soft porn. Yes, I was entertained for the running time on a silly level (just as I was entertained by SHE KILLED IN ECSTASY) but for goodness sake let's not confuse either with great film-making. Franco's film had the advantage that while lacking the technical quality of BLACK SWAN it also lacks its pretention. Rating ***


Cerpts said...

Gordon Bennett, after all that you still gave it 3 stars?!?!?!?!?

Youse is feeling mahty generous, I reckon.

Weaverman said...

Yes, it's technically competent and I wasn't bored and I laughed a lot....although I'm pretty sure there wasn't one intentional laugh in the whole film!