Black Swan, Blu-ray + Digital Copy (2010)

by | Apr 12, 2011 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

Black Swan, Blu-ray + Digital Copy (2010)

Starring: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel, Barbara Hershey, Winona Ryder
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment [3/29/11]
Video: 2.40:1 anamorphic/enhanced for 16:9 1080p HD
Audio: English DTS HD-MA 5.1; Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital; French 5.1 Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Extras: “Black Swan Metamorphosis” making-of documentary; twelve featurettes: (“Ballet”, “Production Design”, “Costume Design”, “Profile: Natalie Portman”, “Profile: Darren Aronofsky”, “Conversation: Preparing for the Role”, “Conversation: Dancing with the Camera”, “Fox Movie Channel Presents: In Character with Natalie Portman”, “Fox Movie Channel Presents: In Character with Winona Ryder”, “Fox Movie Channel Presents: In Character with Barbara Hershey”, “Fox Movie Channel Presents: In Character with Vincent Cassel”, and “Fox Movie Channel Presents: Direct Effect, Darren Aronofsky”); Theatrical trailer; Previews; Live Extras; Mobile Features
Length: 108 minutes
Movie Rating: ****½       Video Rating: ****½         Audio Rating: ****1/2

Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman) is the hardest working ballerina in the New York City Ballet.  Nina’s dream has always been to someday become the lead soloist in a production.  Her dream finally becomes a reality when she is cast to play the Swan Queen in her company’s opening production for the new season, Swan Lake.  The Swan Queen is a combination of two distinct roles, the White Swan and the Black Swan.  The director of the production, Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel) believes that Nina’s innocence and grace perfectly embody the White Swan role.  Thomas is concerned however that Nina may not be able to create the fire and sensuality necessary to perfect the Black Swan role.  

Adding to Nina’s mounting pressures, a new rival dancer, Lily (Mila Kunis) is chosen as Nina’s alternate.  Lily’s wild and untamed personality is much better suited for the Black Swan role, a fact that is not lost upon Thomas.  As opening night grows ever closer, Nina begins to experience emotional and psychological breakdowns as she tries to channel her darker persona.  These breakdowns call into question whether Nina will be able to make her debut as the Swan Queen, and if so, at what cost.     
Natalie Portman won an Academy Award for Best Actress in a Lead Role for her performance in Black Swan.  The honor was well-deserved as she is truly mesmerizing in the role of Nina Sayers.  Her entire supporting cast is excellent with a special nod to Barbara Hershey as Nina’s over-bearing mother.  The movie itself is an engaging psychological thriller that gradually builds throughout to a climatic ending, with a touch of chills and eeriness mixed in for good measure.  Black Swan was easily one of the best movies of 2010 and is worthy addition to any Blu-ray collection.  Highly recommended.
The overall high definition video quality of this Blu-ray disc is very good.  Images have a softer quality based on a stylistic filming choice made by the director, but nice detail is still present.  Black levels are consistently dark throughout the film.  Colors are accurate, and at times bold, with fully-saturated hues.  Picture defect mastering is excellent with no major flaws or compression artifacts.  The overall audio quality is also very good.  The soundtrack actively incorporates all of the discrete channels into its mix.  Dialogue is natural sounding, intelligible and securely anchored in the center channel.  The surround channels are well-utilized for ambiance, sound effects and the engrossing music score.  The low frequency effects channel is crisp and tight.  [Interesting but predictable that a composer I’ve never heard of gets all the credit for the film score, with Tchaikovsky almost totally ignored…Ed.]

— Calvin Harding Jr. 

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