01 January 2011
The Black Network and The Social Swan
I took in a double feature today, in my quest to see the rest of the Big Movies of 2010. I started with The Social Network. I had heard the movie was really good, but something about watching douchebags play douchebags just didn't appeal to me. But I finally decided it was my duty as an Oscar-watcher to see it. And it's definitely good, but also definitely about douchebags, some more sympathetic than others. The way Jesse Eisenberg plays Mark Zuckerberg, he makes him look like suuuuuch an asshole. Just a royal A+ prick. He's the Villain of the Year. The dialogue (and the performances of the dialogue) elevates the movie beyond just a standard origin-of-Facebook story. You get pulled in to how the whole thing got started and the excitement of building a company, along with the thrill of revenge and screwing over your friends. Bonus: Trent Reznor worked on the score. And it's awesome!!! The movie's very good. Best movie of the year? Nah, it's a little too cookie cutter for that. But it's done really well and one of the best and solid entertainment.
Black Swan is also very good, but entirely different from The Social Network. It's straight-up effed up, though not as much as I was expecting. You definitely leave the theater feeling dazed - and I love when a movie does that to you, and sticks with you. The thing is, I'm not quite sure what was real. I'm pretty sure we were seeing everything that Natalie Portman's character was envisioning in her mind. And the girl definitely lost her mind in the pursuit of perfection.
At times I thought it was a little too Showgirls-esque. I mean, Showgirls is essentially this movie set in a strip club, with more crazy and less literally-going-crazy. Portman's character was screwed up to begin with, with obvious mental issues, OCD, and your usual suffocating stage mom. In striving for perfection in her dream role, she totally loses it.
Portman definitely deserves the Oscar for this role. She's great in it, plus clearly did some borderline-scary training (and starving-herself) for the role. I do enjoy when an actor transforms themselves like that. Darren Aronofsky does a great job of directing it too, focusing on the themes of duality and blurring the line of what's real. I also like how you really hear the breathing during the dance sequences. He just makes the whole thing seem "off" -- it's creepy when you can't really explain why and scary when you can't pinpoint what's scary.
You know what? Maybe it's Inception-meets-Showgirls-meets-ballet.