— by CAM SMITH —
The brilliance of director Darren Aronofsky lies in how he is able to blend together a smattering of vaguely recognizable concepts into an effortlessly virtuoso and exceptional master-work. However, this talent comes with a price, in that it robs us eager-beaver speculators of any solid details to apply our frenzied guess-work to. When it comes to him, I’ve resolved to always predict the unpredictable.
Consider these three one-sentence pitches from a couple of his past cinematic stunners:
A) A metaphysical science-fiction epic, spanning over 1,000 years, featuring Hugh Jackman as a conquistador, a medical researcher and a Zen-master floating through time and space.
B) A mind-trippy paranoid thriller about an obsessive mathematician attempting to unlock the mysteries of a universal equation.
C) A gritty docu-drama-style character study of a washed up grappler fighting to eke out a day-to-day living while making peace with his estranged daughter.
See what I mean? It would have been pretty damn tricky to even wrap your head around exactly what any of those projects’ premises could have possibly entailed, much less forecast the amazingly visionary treats which resulted from them.
Aronofsky’s career theme of ultra-secretive, oddball-sounding projects carries over to his next film, “Black Swan,” a psychological thriller set in the world of ballet, featuring Natalie Portman as tormented ballerina protagonist Nina and the enchanting Mila Kunis as her possibly supernatural competitor Lilly.
In an exclusive bit of digging done over at Slashfilm, head writer Peter Sciretta cracked some mighty big news regarding the casting of the flick’s supporting characters. It seems that Portman and Kunis will now be joined by Winona Ryder, playing Nina’s “sorta friend” Beth, Barbara Hershey, cast as Nina’s mom, and creepy-but-handsome Vincent Cassel filling the shoes of the dance troupes’ creepy-but-handsome new stage production director.
Exactly what all this means — other than the fact that “Black Swan’s” cast just got a bit more stellar — currently remains locked in the byzantine mechanics of the gifted director’s brilliant mind.
One thing’s for sure, however; I truly can’t wait to once again be challenged and transported by whatever ingenious ideas slip out of Aronofsky’s sleeve and onto our glowing theatre screens.
Follow Cam Smith on Twitter at http://twitter.com/camspcepisodes.