Saturday, 29 January 2011

Black Swan

I hate it when I’m wrong. I really really hate admitting when I’m wrong. So the next few paragraph’s are going to be painful to write.

Last night I found myself with nothing to do, and so, as is often the case at such moments, I headed for the cinema, to see Black Swan. I first saw this film at the London Film Festival back in October, and somehow it just didn’t click with me at all.

To say I hated the film would not be underselling my initial reaction, and, try as I might, even speaking to so many people who loved the film, I just didn’t get it somehow.

So I figured, with the film now on general release, it was time to revisit the film, knowing now what to expect, and see if that improved the experience any.

Very simply: I was wrong about Black Swan. While certain things still grated with me – the mother daughter relationship in particular just still didn’t ring true –somehow all of the flaws just pale into the background and what you’re left with is a superb film, beautifully shot, and spectacularly edited.

From the precision of the choreography (both of the cameras as well as the actors), to the spectacular soundtrack, Black Swan is as good a psychological thriller as any you’ll see any time soon.

As a devout horror fan, I’m so desensitised to a lot of what I see on screen now, that I just kind of forget that a lot of what I’m seeing is actually terrifying – I just don’t notice. And this is why I think my COMPANY had an effect on my two very different readings of the film. The first time I was sat in a room full of critics, all of whom were tired – it was early morning, and we’d all done multiple screenings a day for weeks by this point. We weren’t in the mind set to like a film, and we, or that is to say I, were too tired to really care less about what was happening before my eyes.

The second time I was in a room, at gone midnight, with maybe 15-20 people in it, all of whom were clearly pretty easily scared. Somehow the atmosphere in the room was almost palpable, and that made the very experience of the film seem almost visceral and exciting, in a way which it just hadn’t been on that first run through.

I guess as I’m currently tied for one bad screening and one good I really ought to see it one more time before I finally pass judgment on Black Swan overall, but let’s just put it this way: based on this time around, I was very, very wrong.