Aronofsky’s new film, Black Swan, has an extraordinary performance at its core by Natalie Portman. Never a huge fan of this actress, my opinion of her has changed dramatically with this role. She is fearless and so modulated that when the final moments happen, her entire performance comes together. So far, the two best performances of the year are hers and James Franco in 127 Hours. Barbara Hershey is terrific to watch in this film as well. She plays a narcissistic and overbearing mother with seething control. I haven’t seen her this good since The Stunt Man way back when.
In terms of direction, Aronofsky brings the backstage life of ballerinas to life quite nicely. His camera never stays still making what could have been dull and lifeless, quite thrilling to watch. Muted colors, a grain texture that creates a mood and the swirling camera all work to bring life to this over-the-top melodrama.