Dancers In The Dark
Aronofsky’s films could never be described as cheery. From Pi’s exploration of mental breakdown, to Randy “The Ram” Robinson’s relentless journey of self-destruction, the director tends to concern himself with troubled individuals and the tales they tell.
Black Swan promises to be no different.
“It’s very unique in tone,” Natalie Portman told MTV. “I think of it as a psychological thriller, like Rosemary’s Baby in (terms of) genre.”
So whilst we can probably assume little baby Satan isn’t going to pop his head up, it seems fairly apparent that Portman’s character is going to be just a teensy bit disturbed.
Her character is in a world that’s just falling apart all around her,” confirms Kunis. “And so, because everything is falling apart around her, crazy things start happening.”
Indeed, it’s when Portman and Kunis strike up an unlikely friendship that things start to go awry, with Nina’s dark side coming rather startlingly to the fore.
Take a look at the trailer. It doesn’t look like Nina’s a very happy girl, does it?
Now at the risk of throwing up a spoiler, it looks as though Lily and Nina are two sides of the same coin. Check out the part when Nina is walking through the tunnel. The figure coming towards her is clearly Natalie Portman, but when she turns around, it’s somebody else entirely…
Kunis says it’s worth familiarising yourself with the Swan Lake story before watching the movie. “If you know the story of Black Swan, you’ll get what the story is about,” she says.
“The characters are ballerinas dancing Swan Lake, and the characters within the film mirror the story of Swan Lake. It’s a fascinating story.”
Obviously we’re well up on our ballet at Total Film, and we couldn’t help noticing that a large part of Swan Lake revolves around a sorcerer who transforms a princess into a swan by day and a woman at night.
So is Kunis Portman’s inner woman, struggling to break out? Or is she something more sinister than that? Whatever she is, she leads Nina into plenty of trouble along the way.
Portman has made plenty of references to the “extreme situations” the film throws up, and supporting actor Sebastian Stan reveals that Aronofsky has conjured up a very dark ride indeed.
“My part was the more fun part of the movie, I suppose, because I guess the rest of the movie is very intense,” he told IESB.net. “My character is out with his friend, one night, and they have no idea who these girls are or what their relationship is.
"They meet up and get wrapped up in the drama that happens between the two girls. They're pawns in their game that’s going on, which is all infiltrated by Mila Kunis' character.”
Hmm, sounds like there are definitely two real girls then. Or perhaps Stan is just attempting not to give the game away.
In any case it seems like the most unsettling thing Aranofsky’s turned his hand to since Requiem For A Dream. That scene with Portman and the mirror certainly gives us the willies!
And speaking of which, there’s another standout scene that probably deserves our attention…