Since the release of its trailer only a couple weeks back, Darren Aronofsky's BLACK SWAN has caused a great deal of interest in the film-going community, myself included. Suggested in the trailer is a dark, visually arresting drama/horror about the nature of pressure and all-consuming dedication. The film debuted at the Venice film festival this past week and has thus far received some fairly high praise. BLACK SWAN currently owns five positive reviews to one negative review on Rotten Tomatoes, but reports of a standing ovation for the film would suggest the praise stretches beyond those five critics.
Most of the buzz thus far for BLACK SWAN concerns the performances of Winona Ryder and Natalie Portman. The praise for Ryder I find a bit surprising as I've never seen her as a noteworthy actress, but I'm definitely interested to see what she makes of the role. Portman, on the other hand, is a solid actress and clips from the trailer certainly suggest a quality performance. The film has apparently raised interest for the actress amongst several filmmakers, including Alfonso Cuaron and Terrence Malick. Cuaron has reportedly offered Portman the lead role in his stranded-in-space flick GRAVITY, which Angelina Jolie recently turned down. No news yet on whether she'll take the role.
Another film gaining a lot of end of the year buzz is Danny Boyle's 127 HOURS, starring James Franco. It also had its debut this past weekend but at Telluride. HOURS has garnered some good reviews, but most coverage on the film has centered on its dubious honor of being so intense that it sent viewers to the hospital. Reports say that one audience member left on a gurney and another suffered a panic attack later in the viewing. Anyone who knows anything about the subject of the film, Aron Ralston, should be prepared to deal with the intensity of his dire situation and self-amputation.
Both BLACK SWAN and 127 HOURS will play next week at the Toronto International Film Festival.