Monday, 21 March 2011
The Black Swan
This is a psychological thriller film that I absolutely love because of its hidden connotations and its ability to thrill and excite the audience with its conventions, such as the false plateau and the use of most of the action being a figment in the actress' mind, so we are already confused as to whether the action is actually happening or not. The film also tackles the sensitive issues like self-harming, homosexuality, drugs and I guess in some cases (abuse).
The film is about a New York ballerina called Nina who is in the running for the role of the 'Swan Queen' in the show 'Swan Lake', she is perfect for the role of the White Swan as she portrays, elegance and is very delicate. However she is required to perform as the Black Swan her evil twin who is very dark and sensual.
Nina shows psychotic symptoms as she has visual hallucinations and she belives that everybody is out to get her and showing severe signs of paranoia. She thinks that her understudy Lily (who is the ideal woman for the role of the black swan) is trying to take her place. The director constantly pressuers Nina telling her to let herself loose into the role of the Black Swan as she is being to frigid and continually trying to be a perfectionist, he tries to use sexuality to bring her out of herself like when he tries to come onto her several times...Nina who refuses then bites his lip, he says she needs that BITE to be able to become the Black Swan.
The film starts to show the difficulties in which Nina begins to face as she starts to become 'evil' to try and portray the Black Swan perfectly. She beings to lose herself and her inhibitions after taking MDMA, her controlling mother then rings the ballet company telling them that her daughter is unable to perform, meaning Lily will take her place.
Angrily Nina goes to the ballet and persuades the director that she is able to perform. As she performs her first scene as the White Swan it goes well until she is distracted by the hallucination of lights and gets dropped whilst in a lift with her partner. Distraught she goes back to her dressing room finding Lily there in the Black Swan costume saying she will play that roll (this is another hallucination). They have a confrontation in which Nina pushes Lily to a mirror shattering the glass then grabbing a shear and stabbing her in the stomach. However she has had a confrontation with herself, meaning she has become too absorbed in her role and then eventually stabbing the evil out of herself.. The film ends with Nina falling onto a matress (in the scene where the swan falls off a mountain) as she lays there she utters the words "I was perfect"
The conventions of a thriller that this film uses is the ability to engage them within the title sequence, it grabs our attention as we want to see more as we do not know exactly what is going on. The use of its false plateau frequently, scares the audience whilst scaring the character itself... an example of this is when Nina is lying in the bath underwater with her eyes closed, we see droplets of blood then a scary image of her as the Black Swan visible of her in the water. Also we see the claustrophobic life that Nina lives in, with the images of her multiplied and fragmented on her bedroom wall taunting her. This helps the effect of a psychological thrill, as we feel the confusion the actress feels.