It’s been well over a month since I saw The Black Swan at The Austin Film Festival and the movie has been dancing in my brain ever since. In my review of the film for Dangerous Minds I praised its delirious fusion of the luridly psychedelic shocks of Dario Argento and the Technicolor spectacle of Michael Powell’s The Red Shoes. I could have and should have compared The Black Swan to the great Hammer Films and Corman’s A.I.P. Edgar Allen Poe flicks. The mere fact that I’m mentioning producers of classic horror films that haunted my youth, is testimony to the crafty genius of director Darren Aronofsky and his cinematographer Matthew Libatique. The Black Swan earns its place alongside such venerable masterpieces of spooky atmospherics as Argento’s Suspiria, De Palma’s Sisters, Terence Fisher’s Dracula Prince Of Darkness and Roger Corman’s The Masque Of The Red Death. It’s that good.
Natalie Portman’s deeply nuanced, physically challenging performance is already the stuff of legend and she’ll undoubtedly receive all kinds of nominations and awards in the next few months.
From my review of 10/27/2010:
It’s rare for a film these days to actually be scary. Most contemporary horror flicks are repulsive rather than frightening, assaulting the viewer instead of seducing them. The Black Swan is jump-out-of-your-seat scary and it achieves its scares honestly, through evocative storytelling and crafty film making. In addition, it’s sexy as hell, full of gothic atmosphere and genuine eroticism - a fairytale for adults.”
The Black Swan opens nationwide tomorrow (Dec. 3). By all means see it. It’s number 9 on my top ten films of 2010.