Black Swan / True Grit
However, if you can only see 1 in the theater–it should be Black Swan. A lot of the joy I derived from this movie is the visual eye candy of the effects (both the psychological “thriller” aspects and just the ballet itself).
True Grit, on the other hand, is a great audio treat because of the stylized dialogue. Yes, all of the characters are gruff looking and sounding, but the words mumbled under their unkempt whiskers are beautiful/poetic.
Synopsis: After her father is killed, young Mattie Ross sets off to bring the killer to justice (with the help of a US Marshal and a Texas Ranger).
Commentary: This is a story of retribution featuring a young lady who will not take no for an answer. I’ve never seen the original one (starring John Wayne), so I don’t know how this remake fares compared to that. Except for the age and gender of the main avenger, this is a straight forward revenge story (you know how this is going to end…) but there’s never a dull moment.
Commentary: In order to understand what’s happening with in the Black Swan, you need to know two things:
1) the basic story of Swan Lake: beautiful woman by day is cursed to become a White Swan at night (a were-swan). Only true love can break the curse. The woman believes she has found true love, but the man is then unwittingly seduced by a Black Swan. The White Swan is heartbroken and rather than stay cursed forever commits suicide.
2) In the performance of Swan Lake, the White Swan & The Black Swan are played by the same dancer.
In the movie, Nina is a ballet dancer (the lead in a new production of Swan Lake) who has no problem dancing the White Swan but can only gain favor from her director if she makes her transformation into the Black Swan a convincing one.
See the reversal? The White Swan’s goal in the ballet is to become human. Nina is a white swan (symbol of innocence/purity) who’s ultimate desire is to become the Black Swan. Clever, right? It’s a Rocky & Bullwinkle style Fractured Fairy Tale for adults. Now, toss into the mix Nina’s deteriorating mental state…
As I said above, it is a beautiful movie and it is a puzzle–designed to have you thinking about and re-evaluating what you’ve seen long after the credits have rolled.
Bonus Black Swan drinking game: if you end up renting this movie on Netflix, count how many times you see a mirror or a reflection.
A movie that needs to be made: Black Grit (a demented ballerina and a gruff US Marshal fight their way through the rough and tumble streets of the Upper West Side to track the dastardly director who killed her self esteem).