“The only person standing in your way is you.”

Black Swan could have easily drowned in a whirlpool of overwrought adolescent melodrama, ala the Twilight series, but the film paddles its way through the murky depths of a sexy, terrifying psychological thriller centered around a girl’s obsession to become something she may or may not be — a ballet dancer encompassing the dichotomy of good and evil, innocence and lust, frailty and dominance. Never has such a simplistic story of desire been transformed — even transcended — into a truly suspenseful, horrifying, unflinching examination of the power and peril of the subconscious. Yes the acting is brave and stunning, but Darren Aronofsky, more than any other director of recent memory, is the sole creditor for morphing a teenage thriller into a legitimate Best Picture contender. Every little detail — from the hair-wrenching sound effects, to the nightmarish, disturbing, shocking imagery, to the stretching of the R-rated boundaries for sexual content
— can be credited to the imagination of Aronofsky. This film is also one of the most truly frightening films to float around in quite some time — and every terrifying moment is duly earned — not some cheap, cliche´d gimmick. Finally, Natalie Portman’s performance — in every sense of the word — is courageous and erotic. Even though The King’s Speech will undoubtedly reign over this ballet enigma, it is this reviewer’s opinion that Black Swan is the best film of the year.

By Lee Hammond