Starring: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis
4/5. Cert: 15 RT: 108 mins
Natalie Portman needs to start clearing some space on her mantelpiece.
Such is the quality of the star’s performance in Darren Aronofsky’s superb psychological drama Black Swan that you can’t imagine she won’t be fondling a little golden man come February.
Portman is utterly convincing as Nina Sayers, a tightly wound ballerina who is offered the lead role in a new production of Swan Lake.
With the choreographer pushing the dancer to explore her dark side to deliver a better performance, Sayers starts to lose her mind, something that’s sped up by the arrival of sexy new ballerina Lily (Kunis).
The dancer’s descent into paranoid hell is brilliantly realised by Aronofsky, the director delivering a series of disturbing visuals and heart-stopping jolts that will leave even the most seasoned horror fan feeling rattled.
True, he occasionally overplays his hand (Nina’s transformation into a black swan goes a step too far) but the film’s tiny flaws are hardly noticeable thanks to Portman’s career-best turn.
Tackling a role that’s both physically and mentally demanding, she comes up with a committed, intense and intoxicating performance that deserves all the plaudits it’s getting.
Good for: Those who don’t mind some sleepless nights.
Pierre De Villiers