Darren Aronofsky's backstage ballet thrillerBlack Swan is lurid and voluptuous pulp fun, with a sensationalistic fairy-tale allure. You can't take it too seriously, but you can't tear your eyes away from it, either. The movie is all about what happens to Nina (Natalie Portman), an ambitious, repressed New York ballerina with the face of a saddened porcelain doll, when she gets cast as the lead in a bold new production ofSwan Lake. Nina is supposed to be a technically flawless dancer who lacks inner fire. She's the ultimate overachieving student, executing each movement with supreme by-the-book ''perfection,'' which means she's ideal to play the saintly White Swan half of her role. But what Thomas (Vincent Cassel), the Balanchine-lite whip-cracking French leader of the troupe, wants to know is: Can Nina dance the part of the duplicitous, seductive Black Swan as well? To find out, he makes a pass at her — and she fights him off by literally biting him back. That moment of angry rebellion is what nets her the role. It proves to Thomas that she can bring her inner Black Swan to life. But can she really?
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