Saturday, February 19, 2011

Entry #4

Yet another Kevin Spacey photo I'm seeing for the first time. :)
And since it's possible I won't get to post anything till after the Feb 28 Oscars, here's wishing him and the rest of The Social Network team best of luck!

Today's discussion centres on the latest Best Picture Oscar contender I sat through.
I've read a few reviews and received mixed opinions from friends ( they didn't like it ), but for me, it was a very enjoyable, satisfying experience.


Predisposing factors: I'm a fan of dark psychological thrillers ( good example: my obsession with the Dexter TV series and novels ); Tchaikovsky is one of my favourite composers, and Swan Lake is of course my favourite masterpiece; and while I'm not the sort to pay to sit through a ballet performance, I do enjoy watching it on the small / big screen.

And with a stellar cast to boot, the combination is pretty much perfect.

Natalie Portman should, IMHO, win the Best Actress Oscar. Her portrayal of tormented, emotionally fragile Nina Sayers is heart-breaking. While the performance is subdued ( Portman's voice barely rises above a whisper in most scenes ), the tension is palpable from beginning to end, as various stressors threaten to derail the poor girl's shaky psyche.

There're many to choose from: a domineering mother who removes the doorknob so her daughter can't leave her bedroom; the slutty new ballerina who pretends to be Nina's best pal then betrays her; the overbearing ballet director who should be sued for sexual harassment and molestation.

Nina's pain is, to some degree, incomprehensible. I found myself wondering how a young woman this beautiful and talented could allow herself to become a victim. How, even after being named the lead in Swan Lake, her insecurity failed to abate. And the extent of her paranoid delusions and hallucinations is truly terrifying, when one considers her meek, submissive personality. One can only guess at the amount of pent-up frustration brewing within, unleashed in the form of imagined sexual aggression and physical violence.

Barbara Hershey deserves special mention for her role as the super-creepy mum. I've watched my fair share of really scary horror movies, but some of her facial expressions are giving me nightmares!

Mila Kunis is a massive revelation as Nina's rival, Lily. After pottering around in That '70s Show and a number of so-so films ( Max Payne, Forgetting Sarah Marshall ), she finally flexes her acting chops as one of the meanest female characters I've ever come across. Lily's venom is toxic to the core, yet that much more dangerous because she knows how to ensnare her prey. That is one vicious b****!

I'm also very impressed with Vincent Cassel, who plays ballet director, Thomas Leroy. I have a vague recollection of seeing him in a Hollywood production previously, but his role in Black Swan will remain a vivid memory for life.
He may be in his mid-40s, but oozes sexuality in every scene. Pay attention to one segment where Thomas rehearses with Nina alone in a studio then practically attacks her.
If you want visuals, go to this link, and fast forward to 46:15.

Yow. :)

Next on the list - True Grit, and maybe The Fighter.
Yes, I'm passing on 127 Hours. I have my limits!

1 comment:

mumbler said...

there's an interesting NYT article about the movie, here's the link: