Illustration: Adeline Pericart

We laughed, we cried, we sneaked in our own popcorn. 2011 brought with it some memorable trips to the cinema to revel in the joy of film. And so the Film Ireland collection of filmbots look back in love and recall their favourite films of the last year in the latest installment of…

We Love… 2011

Black Swan

(Darren Aranofsky)

‘… a truly brilliant psychological thriller …’

Rory Cashin

Even though it was released way back in January, nothing has stuck in my memory this year as much as Black Swan. Even after repeat viewings, it has lost none of its dazzling edge or cut throat tension. I could go on and on about how amazing Natalie Portman is, but since she won the Oscar® for it, I think that point is proven already. Of course it helps that she was surrounded by a dazzling female cast that helped her up her game, from Mila Kunis’ love interest-slash-villain, to Winona Ryder’s on-her-way-out spoiled bitch, to Barbara Hershey’s all-too-real overly protective mother.

Director Darren Aranofsky pilfered from the best for his ‘Were-Swa’  movie, with the film showing influence from De Palma’s and Hitchcock’s body-double thrillers, to Cronenberg’s and Argento’s sex-infused body horrors. There’s even some Fincher in there, with Aranofsky using the medium of cinema itself to tell the story by using flash-cuts and single frame edits to stir up some subliminal fear (check out the scenes in the nightclub for some familiar faces), as well as composer Clint Mansell manipulating Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake soundtrack into something singularly sinister.

There’s nothing here that hasn’t been done before, but rarely has it been done better. What potentially could have been a trashy horror movie with a lesbian sex scene thrown in for good measure is turned into a truly brilliant psychological thriller.

With a lesbian sex scene thrown in for good measure.


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