Movie Critique - Black Swan

In: Film and Music

Submitted By aspbc
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Movie Critique

The focus of this critique is on the film Black Swan, directed by Darren Aronofsky and starring Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, and Vincent Cassel. A movie about a young woman’s consuming desire for perfection as a ballerina in the role of a lifetime.

Throughout this film the mise-en-scene was raw and grainy with diverse camera angles that gave an out of control feel that added to the instability within the scenes. As the film progresses the viewer becomes increasingly unsure of the reality that the Nina character is experiencing. The tight quarters of the sets, apart from the practice room, emphasized and helped to showcase the pressure at the studio and the controlling atmosphere at home.

The editing in this film was linear and showed the gradual and increasing mental instability of Nina. At times it was difficult to know where in her mental decline she was at and what she was experiencing versus what was only in her mind. Had the film been edited in a nonlinear fashion it would have added a tremendous amount of confusion for the viewer and destroyed the continuity of her experiences and gradual mental deterioration.

Sound is effectively used in scenes depicting the reality of particular events. The harsh sounds of the cutting and clipping of Nina’s fingernails sounded like the snapping of small bones. The sound of grinding the bottoms of the ballet slippers in the resin box, the scraping, scratching sound of the knife slicing the bottoms of the shoes were the sounds of reality in those scenes. Other sounds that at times were only barely audible were apparently only noticed by Nina. The heavy sigh after she picks up Beth’s lipstick from the dressing room table, the subtle rustling of feathers, loud, sudden out of context sounds all were only what she was hearing. It was in these moments that the viewer is allowed a brief cue that…...

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