Firstly, only read this if you have seen the movie, otherwise you might not see it and that could be a terrible shame for you. The keyword is ‘could’. Also, my ramblings give away the extremely dynamic, diverse, and original plot so the film narrative will be spoilt too. Subtle sarcasm doesn’t come across very well as the written word does it?
In short, I couldn’t wait for it to end. For a start, it’s darker than a Mole hole, and I’m not talking about lighting. Now ordinarily, I don’t mind a dark film, in fact I relish one, but on a subject that warrants it. This is about being a Ballerina, it’s not about being a refugee in war torn Somalia.
Yes, I get the fact that people take advantage in the industry, but they do everywhere, from the BBC to Brussels, from being a cleaner to a captain of industry, it happens everywhere. And I get the fact that ballerina’s don’t eat much or have a healthy diet. My, that was a shocker; I never would have guessed that. So too, it wasn’t a shock that things are very competitive, and very fragile, and bitchy, and it is extremely hard work. Neither was I surprised by the notion that you need to be free to do this work, to let go, (how many times did I hear that?), to let your mind be free, to explore yourself inwardly, to release your inner soul and surrender your sanctity, etc, etc.
None of these insights were particularly earth shattering. But I tell you what was: – that the decision was taken by the writer or Director to suspend reality for the majority of the film. The brief seemed to be:- ‘Right, let’s take a subject, throw in some things that are associated with it, throw in a bit of sex and fantasy, and then stretch it out for as long as we can, and make the believable incredibly unbelievable, and confuse the audience as we go’. Well, they have succeeded.
A very well know and established ballerina was up in her delicate, swan swaying arms about this movie, saying it shows the industry in an entirely unrealistic way. I wouldn’t worry if I was her, because this film bears no resemblance to reality at all, let alone a realistic reality a ballerina might have.
There are a few things that stick in my mind, and something that I will conclude from them: – The ridiculous and continual reference to sex throughout the film, and in a quite unnecessary way. It was like someone had thought, right we want to see someone doing this, how can we get it into a movie? I know we can make it a dream. How original, not. I’m sure there are many men out there who will say: – ‘If you told me that was going to be in it I would have seen it sooner’.
The same goes for the blood on view, and the associated scenes of subtle gore and almost, horror. Again, I found this unnecessary. Also, the whole suspended disbelief and animated way the film unravelled. I just didn’t know what was real and what wasn’t. That’s ok with science fiction, but with a film like this, it gets confusing and annoying. My overwhelming sense with this film is the fact that you can elasticise almost anything, if you throw in enough hype with it, publicity, fantasy, sex, and suggestion.
To conclude, well I’ve just spent my time writing about it, so… what does that say? 3 of us saw it together and out of 10, the score was 4, 7, and 5, from me. So in these respects, the film has worked. It has sparked conversation, thought provocation and controversy. Also, the acting, the choreography, and the film cinematography, was incredible and very clever. The only exception to this was the occasional too close camera view or moving sequence from Nina’s shoulder, or behind her head. I don’t know why we needed this. It was also very clever the way the disbelief went as far as showing us Nina looking like a swan, with the transformation, complete with wings, to a black swan, that was smart. I think this film might actually have many positive effects on the audience though, despite the initial darkness it delivers. They now may actually want to go and see real ballet.