Sunday, December 26, 2010

Black Swan v. Inception

I recently saw Black Swan, and I have to say that is a truly intelligent movie, and we need more like it. Also, I have to admit that in spite of the fact that I try really hard to hate Natalie Portman since she's a Jewish girl who is far more successful in life than me, she really is excellent in that movie. There's this one scene in particular, where something goes right for her really small-personality, deadly quiet character, where she expresses her happiness so beautifully. She just looked so mousily excited that I almost cried a little. That is to say, I was genuinely happy for her.

Now I've posted something about this on Facebook already, but there is a huge difference between a movie like this and one like Inception, which has also been talked about a lot. Inception has a slightly-too-clever premise, and the characters have pseudo-trendy names like "Mal" and "Ariadne," so you know it's that kind of movie, and it's even got Michael Caine in his usual semi-pointless supporting role, taking but two or three scenes to speak the all-knowing truth. So because of all this, the whole thing is really contrived, but tons of people like it anyway because there are tons of people who don't entirely trust their own intelligence, so if something is presented in a thick guise of seriousness, they'll think it must be great. Lost in Translation and Atonement were like that too. Just show some sweeping scenes of high tech-looking Tokyo or have Keira Knightley make a super-serious pout, and everyone will think it's a work of genius they're watching.

Black Swan, on the other hand. An abstract idea that probably seemed on paper like it would never work. And indeed, it's not perfect. The ending isn't quite right and the music is a little too suspenseful right from the beginning, considering the buildup is so slow. But it's very, very good. All the characters, including Natalie's almost demonic-looking mother and her sexually aggressive ballet master, are real. And despite what I just said about the music, for the most part the slow pace is great. This is a true horror movie, genuinely terrifying, and not because bodies are dropping right from scene one.

Go out and see this shit. Now.


  1. I just saw Black Swan, and I really enjoyed it. I walked out of the theater and I thought, "I really liked that movie, but I don't know why..." I think it's because it was a movie that made you think. I'm not sure that I totally followed it, but it was good...

    As far as the suspense thing goes, I agree that it was laid on a bit thick from the beginning, but ultimately was fitting.

    I would post some more detail-oriented critique/questions, but I don't want to spoil it for your readers who may not have seen it yet.

  2. One can't compare movies like Inception and Black Swan ..If Inception was all about mind control and intelligence..then black swan is more of a movie that deals with the personality and behavioral characteristics of individual.. I believe they are both more than just 'movies'..'an experience' might be more apt..

    About pseudo-trendy-names ..then Inception was a futuristic movie..a movie about dreams..and so even the names are trendily futuristic and 'dreamy' Mal..or 'Ariadne'..