Darren Aronofsky’s ballet thriller premiers tonight at the Venice Film Festival. The first press screening reactions have just been released online and is available below.
The Telegraph: “Powerful, gripping and always intriguing, it also features a lead performance from Natalie Portman that elevates her from a substantial leading actress to major star likely to be lifting awards in the near future.” … “Aronovsky makes great play of a colour scheme featuring mostly black and white (while Tomas dresses mainly in grey). But some details are tellingly observed - the preponderance of pink in Nina’s bedroom,a collection of soft toys, and the Swan Lake ringtone on her phone that lets her know Mother’s calling. Tchaikovsky’s music takes on an unsettling quality as Nina’s descent progresses, all the way to the disturbing but perfect ending. Black Swan is an exhilarating if uneasy ride, one that could deliver Aronofsky his second Golden Lion here in three years (he won in 2008 with The Wrestler). As for Portman, she can expect a busy few months at awards dinners.”
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. But when the script by Mark Heyman and Andres Heinz, based on the latter’s story, struggles to carve out a real-world parallel to the life-and-death struggle depicted in the dance story, it goes over the top in something approaching grand guignol fashion. Particularly grating is Hershey’s insufferable mother character, who persists in calling Nina “my sweet girl” and barging into Nina’s room whenever she feels like it while nursing a perennial grudge over having given up her own career to raise her daughter, to the point where she resembles the mother in “Carrie” more than someone who actually lives in the real world"