Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Tutu much. Black Swan - on release

Nina (Natalie Portman) is a good girl and good girls do ballet. She trots to class swathed in snow-frosted scarves and the sort of buttoned up pink coats worn by prim 5-year-olds. Nina is a superb ballerina (and credit to Portman for losing 9 kilos and going up on pointe - ballet's unique form of female torture). But does she have the dark passion to take on classical ballet's most demanding role? Odette/Odlie - the Swan Queen and the Black Swan? That so-tired-it-actually-died-5-centuries-ago virgin/whore claptrap.

This is the narrative thrust of this trash-gothic-campy film in which we see NIna thrust and thrash in an onanistic bed-ballet scene after her lusty svengali (Vincent Cassel) tells her to get in touch herself 'down there'. Which is really what this over blown and silly film is about. It's about Natalie Portman's body - scarred, scratched, feathered and fondled. It's also about her nemesis, a flashy dance rival (Mila Kunis) who dives between her thighs like a hungry cat.

The dance scenes are well filmed, although this viewer got giddy from too many spinning cameras. But what really fascinated me was the packed house at Notting Hill's Gate cinema last Sunday night. What were we all thinking we were about to see? A film about ballet? You're more likely to get an audience to watch a test card. We were there to see the cheap pleasures of soft porn dressed up as art-house cinema. We didn't leave disappointed.

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