First, the cast is simply amazing, Nathalie Portman carries thre film on her shoulders with great talent. Her opposite, Mila Kunis is simply right for her role and she gives everything in the right amount for her role. Vincent Cassel is just excellent as always, since Doberman I always enjoyed his performances. As for Barbara Hershey's portrayal of Nina's mother and Winona Rider as the former star of Thomas' ballets.
This multilayered story felt like a Stanley Kubrick picture, it will take many views to fully understand the richness of the story and the implications of the characters. Matthew Libatique (Cinematographer) and Darren Aronofsky said that their main influences were Roman Polanski's Repulsion and The Tenant. Of course, they looked at Pressburger and Powell's masterpiece The Red Shoes, but also Kieslowski Three Colors trilogy for its ambiences and its photography.
Some of you may ask why I compared Black Swan to a Stanly Kubrick picture. Well, first off because Kubrick was one of the few and last American auteurs. His films were characterized by amazing cinematography and stories without comprimize and censorship. He was a master of blockbuster auteurism. When I saw Black Swan I had same feeling like if I was watching a film as great as The Shining. Another multilayered thriller made with stunning visuals and a story that's so much deeper than its broad lines. The movement of cameras in the Ballets can recall the greatness of the boxing sequences of Raging Bull. Scorsese's 1970's films are the few films with top of the art visuals that can be compared to the cinematic quintessence showned in Black Swan.
Aronofsky has put himself right with the greats of his art, his other films are exceptional achievments but he fully reaches maturity with Black Swan and its dual story of good and evil and reality and psycho. There are few movies each year that will stick through the years. I hope that this one will mark our memory for a long time.
The last aspect of Black Swan I'd like to discuss here is the visual effects used. The fact that they are mind blowing is mainly because we don't feel like if we were watching visual effects. It makes us believe in those black wings and metamorphosis of Nina. We are entering her mind and we, like her, can't tell if it's reality or hallucination.
I think that my enthusiasm is palpable and that I have praised enough Aronofsky's last film. So I don't have to mention that so far for 2010, this is my top film of the year. Still, I haven't seen The Social Network, The King's Speech, Toy Story 3, and the many contenders for the Best picture of 2010.