As I sit here, revisiting some really amazing films, I contemplate my thoughts on who my favourite director working today is. Without a doubt if I put absolutely no real thought into it and just give you my knee-jerk reaction to such a question I have to say Darren Aronofsky. He’s everything I want in a filmmaker. He’s someone who puts characters first. If there isn’t something visceral happening with the main character in the film then he has little to no interest in making the movie. He was slated to take on the next iteration of the Wolverine franchise but later dropped off due to personal reasons but somehow his name being attached immediately made a franchise I have no hope for jump in credibility for the short period of time that he was set to work on it.
Aronofksy has made: Pi, Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain, The Wrestler and Black Swan. In my view a 100% director. I won’t claim Pi to be his best work, but it definitely is an interesting film and looking at it as a first time feature for a filmmaker who would later give us some of the most beautifully designed character pieces where we never leave a film without knowing the main character’s true essence.
So thinking more and more about it I guess my love for Aronofsky isn’t unwarranted. He’s brilliant. However, taking a moment to contemplate my other options: Christopher Nolan (the new king of the action thriller), David Fincher (a pretty much perfect technical filmmaker), Jason Reitman (who refuses to be as audacious as some other filmmaker but consistently incredible within his genre) and Martin Scorsese (who just won’t stop making great cinema). Off the top of my head I can’t seem to think of anyone else worth mentioning.
However, I feel sometimes that while Scorsese will probably be the toughest to discredit in this argument, Aronofsky is the only of the five mentioned that never seems to lose his emotional base at any point through any of his films. He’s able to take independent filmmaking techniques and make the most unmarketable idea filmmable within budget making little to no sacrifices in the view of the art.
I may not be a fan of writing about film news due to the rumour-like quality that a lot of the articles are. However, I do follow the news on a lot of film blogs and I do think that there’s something to keeping track of all of the “news” that’s mentioned throughout the week as it relates to the world of cinema.
So every Friday I’ll be posting a list of links of the week’s news around the internet. Highlighting my favourite stories of the week and those stories so ludicrous I jut can’t imagine them to be true.
Shane Black directed Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and that’s enough, but for those of you out there needing more credentials he also wrote Lethal Weapon, The Last Action Hero and The Long Kiss Goodnight and each of those movies play perfectly into what Iron Man as a franchise wants to accomplish. Black already has experience working with Robert Downey Jr. and gets his comedic sensibilities and that’s why this news makes me smile and would like to put in my official recommendation for the studio to go ahead and make this happen.
They worked together on Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours which were both great movies (the later more than the former) and the idea of Boyle putting moving pictures to Beaufoy‘s words makes me tinkle a little bit. Also the idea of horror elements re-entering Boyle‘s filmography is also a great idea since
Nina Sears (Natalie Portman) is an ambitious hard working dancer in her ballet company and has been chosen to star in their opening show of the season, Swan Lake. She however begins to get paranoid as she sees company newcomer, Lily (Mila Kunis), trying to get her spot as the top dancer.
The film in its simplest form is exactly what Thomas (Vincent Cassel) wanted to do with the play. It’s a stripped down version of the original Tchaikovsky ballet. It expands the story into not only the ballet that’s being put on by the company but is actually the story of the overall film which I love. Darren Aronofsky (probably my more objective favourite working director) found a way to seamlessly transition the stories of the ballet and the dancer who’s staring in the ballet without making it distracting at all.
Many, when watching this movie, like to quote films like The Red Shoes because it went down the same road before, but honestly this movie did what The Red Shoes failed to do well (in my eyes at least). There is never a question as to what Aronofsky’s intentions or where the story is going to go, but like with any good story you just keep wanting to go down further down the rabbit hole because it’s so damn intriguing.
Some of you may be asking why you’re bothering to read this review, I obviously love this movie since it made it to the top of my TOP TEN OF 2010 list, but the truth of the matter of is that it’s even better the second time around. I noticed a lot more visual touches and where the sound mixing made everything a lot more obvious. I noticed a lot more times where Nina’s skin went into this odd ‘rough’ texture as if she was actually a swan in those scenes where she would be imagining her own version of reality and the way that a certain sound would just occur at those specific times. It becomes an interesting game of spot the cinematic details which I always love to see.
Where a film like this shines is with its supporting performances; Vincent Cassel and Barbara Hershey work perfectly as the princes that Nina is having trying to persuade her to fall for either side of herself, the white and black swan. Erica (Barbara Hershey) is the mother that wants her daughter to be perfect and confines her to this life of dedication and discipline, while Thomas is the one who wants Nina to give in to her darker side and want to be more instinctual. It’s just one more small detail of how Aronofsky was able to embed the ballet into the general story of the film and it’s just beautiful.
While I loved every moment leading up to the final moment of the film I think that the final scene where we actually see the segments of the ballet on screen just so beautiful. The way that the director made the camera follow the action on stage, even earlier in the film when they were just rehearsing, was so emotional for me. I’ve never been a fan of interpretational dance, because I’m not a dancer. However, somehow he made me understand what was happening with every movement on stage and that’s something to be commended.
Darren Aronofsky is one of my favourite directors working today. He’s given me films like: Pi, Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain and The Wrestler. Every film he does is perfect in everyway. His films tend to deal with such a psychological level of drama that no other filmmaker does. Here he has Mila Kunis and Natalie Portman as competing ballet dancers who’re trying there best to be the best. Check out the trailer below: Continue reading