Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Venice Film Festival: Black Swan Gets Rave Reviews

While there aren't that many reviews out, and an American audience might feel differently than a European one, the early word on Darren Aronofsky's highly anticipated Black Swan are not only good, they are incredible.

Here are a few blips:

Todd McCarthy at IndieWire:

"As a sensory experience for the eyes and ears, “Black Swan” provides bountiful stimulation. Aronofsky and cinematographer Matthew Libatique choreograph the camera in beautiful counterpoint to Portman’s dance moves, especially in rehearsals, and the muted color scheme on rather grainy stock look like a more refined version of what the director did on “The Wrestler.” Tchaikovsky’s ever-present music supplies plenty of its own drama and the dance world details seem plausible enough."

Peter DeBruge at Variety:

"A wicked, sexy and ultimately devastating study of a young dancer’s all-consuming ambition, “Black Swan” serves as a fascinating complement to Darren Aronofsky’s “The Wrestler,” trading the grungy world of a broken-down fighter for the more upscale but no less brutal sphere of professional ballet. Centerstage stands Natalie Portman, whose courageous turn lays bare the myriad insecurities genuinely dedicated performers face when testing their limits, revealing shades of the actress never before seen on film…"

Kirk Honeycutt at The Hollywood Reporter

“Swan” is an instant guilty pleasure, a gorgeously shot, visually complex film whose badness is what’s so good about it. You might howl at the sheer audacity of mixing mental illness with the body-fatiguing, mind-numbing rigors of ballet, but its lurid imagery and a hellcat competition between two rival dancers is pretty irresistible. Certain to divide audiences, “Swan” won’t lack for controversy, but will any of this build an audience? Don’t bet against it."

In terms of Oscar, I now think that all major categories are in play, especially Actress (Natalie Portman), Barbara Hershey and Mila Kunis (Supporting Actress), Screenplay, Picture, Director (Aronofsky), and the beautiful cinematography, makeup, and costume design.

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