Catching you up with links to my rankings of all the 2010 Best Picture nominees:
The Introduction of William H. Dirkness
Ranking The Best Pictures: 8-10
Ranking The Best Pictures: 4-7
Ranking The Best Pictures: 2-3
1. Black Swan
Bam! The credits roll but paralysis has overtaken my body. The other people in attendance (after laughing through many of the scenes that made them squeamish or uncomfortable) are standing and leaving the theater. Meanwhile, I can't move. I can't even think. I will be the last one to leave the theater. By far. I feel like what I had just witnessed has changed me.
The sign of a great film can be traced to the emotional impact it has on you. I experienced an entire spectrum of emotions throughout Darren Aronofsky's best film to date (2. Requiem, 3. Wrestler). When I returned home, I scribbled down on a sticky note (my preferred way to record thoughts) the following words: Delusional, paranoid, confidence, created a monster, insecurities, sense of self, dark tones. My mind was so active afterwards that I could've written a Harvard dissertation on it, but instead chose to just scribble those seven notes down.
Black Swan hit me on such a personal level with what I felt was the heart of the film: Natalie Portman character's quest for perfection. I've always wrestled with the idea of perfection. It seems so boring. Without the proper perspective of losing, it just becomes ego feed (yes this is a sports rant, my specialty, but can be applied to other facets of life). Yet, so many people seek it, while really, if it's about anything, it's about the pursuit of it. The journey > final destination (A cool story: I wrote this preceding paragraph on a spiritual frolf outing before nearly missing a called ace on #5 at Shawnee Mission Park, which gets me to my next point...).
I'm afraid of perfection. I'm an avid bowler and disc golf player who has never shot 300 or thrown an ace, while numerous people of inferior skill have accomplished those feats, for just a few examples. I feel like I handle times of failure/sadness better than times of success/happiness, which is a weird concept. It's almost as if I sense the impeding upward/downward swing that follows (a result of keeping one eye on the future instead of two eyes on the present). In conclusion, I'm better from behind (as much of the local Asian population already knows) than I am in front.
Can you believe I've written 4 paragraphs on this film and haven't even discussed the hottest lesbian scene in movie history (waiting to be proven wrong)? In fact, I was so blown away by Black Swan that the carpet munching didn't even crack my ten favorite things about the film (but maybe it will on the second viewing). The transformation of Nina, both literally and metaphorically, from an innocent White Swan to an emotionally corrupted Black Swan is truly incendiary. Incendiary. The director, the most underrated character of the film, knows that he must shatter her purity in order for her to fully embrace the role of the Black Swan, which sets the metamorphosis in motion.
The process drives Nina to the brink of exhaustion, both physically and mentally, complete with delusions and paranoia, a manifestation created from her own intrinsic insecurities, with the audience left to decide what's real and what's not (Personally believe more of the scenes are her own illusions than most other people) - I theorize that every delusion is directly related to one of Nina's scratching episodes (ripping the hangnail back is absolutely terrifying and haunted me for the ensuing fortnight). Portman portrays the character so well, that just saying she should win the Oscar for Best Actress doesn't come close to expressing how I feel about her performance. The way most people are talking about Colin Firth's performance is how I felt about her achievement. It would be an absolute travesty if she didn't emerge victorious on Sunday night.
I know Black Swan doesn't have a chance of bringing home the Best Picture Oscar, but it fulfilled its destiny by snatching up one of nominations (the committee isn't ready to recognize a film of such complicated psychological depth). Plus, what it does get, is William H. Dirkness' first annual 'Best Movie of the Year' label. Furthermore, searching back a few years, Black Swan would classify as the most powerful and meaningful film to me since 2007's No Country For Old Men.
IMDB Nugget: SPOILER: There is a mirror or a reflective surface in nearly every shot of the film. The only noticeable place where there isn't one is when Nina is on stage, during the film's climax, performing the Black Swan, when her 'dark side' has taken over.
IMDB Double Dose: Nina Sayers: I was perfect...
I hope you all enjoyed my rankings of the 2010 Best Picture nominees, and hope that you gained something from atleast one of the films. Everybody enjoy the Academy Awards tomorrow night!
William H. Dirkness