Luke’s review published on Letterboxd:
*may contain minor spoilers*
A pitch black orchestral symphony of pure horror and dread, Black Swan is the great filmic tragedy of the 21st century. Both sadistic and empathetic, it is gorgeously ruthless in its depiction of Nina, a dedicated and obsessive ballerina who wants nothing more than to play the part of the Swan Queen in the Swan Lake ballet to utter perfection.
Her journey begins where a legend's journey ends. Beth had previously played the part, but is now going into retirement. The company leader, Thomas, must now pick a new Swan Queen. Nina knows this is her one and only chance to achieve perfection. She auditions and gets the part.
For Nina, all hell breaks loose. The film is a parallel to the story of the Swan Lake ballet, and this becomes ever clearer and more terrifying as the story continues to unfold. It's a story told as a fever dream, wrought with terror and the confection between Nina's inner desires and the outside forces that affect her. But it does not display her situation with disdain. The film is empathetic, by means of outright horror. Nina is just as scared as we are, and through our own terror we are able to empathize with her terror.
The soundtrack, as far as I could tell, mirrored that of the ballet as well, and it's masterful in evoking the scale and poetic symphony of the events unfolding before us. It is one of the all time great soundtracks. And you guys. Natalie Portman. This is one of the few holy shit performances I've seen in my whole life. It's heartbreaking and powerful to the core. She loses herself in this role, and I don't think she'll ever top it (though she was close in Jackie).
This is an artistically masterful piece of filmmaking craft. It is the second best horror film of the 21st century, and by far one of the greatest films ever made. The experience I had rewatching this equated to my horror at first seeing Mulholland Drive. It's nearly that good, and no less (if not more) terrifying. I cannot wait for mother!