Black Swan (2010)
In Black Swan, Darren Aronofsky consolidates his position as one of the best filmmakers of our time by combining a passionate portrayal of the world of ballet, in which the beauty and sensuality of the art-form is contrasted with the competitive and unforgiving conditions in the corps de ballet, with an unyieldingly probing psychological study of the lead dancer, in Natalie Portman's ballet shoes. Aronofsky has demonstrated his ability to perceive and convey the inner demons of the human mind before (notably in Requiem for a Dream), but hardly better than he does with Nina Sayers here, using his entire stylistic spectre as a director to assist the exposed Portman in her masterful, complete descent into the characters' self-created void. The effect is undeniable; Black Swan is a riveting experience of degradation and elation - all the while soaked in an eerie mood which isn't easily dealt with. The film works Nina's and our defences down methodically, before welcoming us warmly to the conclusion. It's a great achievement in directing by Aronofsky, who demonstrates an irresistible assuredness. Great work by Kunis, Cassel, Hershey and Ryder supporting the brilliant Portman. More than one of them are worthy of Oscar nominations.