I had some reservations about Darren Aranofsky‘s ‘Requiem For A Dream‘ (see my  post of 18th Feb) but I have no such doubts about Black Swan.

It’s a brilliant piece of total cinema – dramatic story, great soundtrack, stunning costumes, breathtaking choreography and no holds barred performances.

In what will surely be an Oscar winning performance, Natalie Portman is exceptional as Nina. To say she threw herself into this part would be an understatement. She looks totally convincing as the psychotic perfectionist and is quite remarkable in the dance sequences (perhaps helped by dating  New York Ballet’s Benjamin Millepied – the two met on set, are engaged and she is expecting a baby in Summer 2011).

Aranofsky’s directing style tends towards exaggeration but it doesn’t look over the top for this movie. He creates a genuinely spooky atmosphere from the start so there is always the tension of knowing something BAD is going to happen – it’s just a case of what , when and how.

Another positive about the movie is that it is one where the female roles are not defined by the male counterparts. Thomas (Vincent Cassel) pushes her as the ballet director but it is the challenging role of white/black swan , not him , that  dictates the level of psycho-sexual growth she needs.

I could say more but Matt Goldberg’s review on Collider.com sums up pretty well my opinions of this movie.