We finally got around to seeing Black Swan (directed by Darren Aronofsky) this evening. Though there are some very powerful scenes and some clever dialogue, I found it overlong, self-indulgent and far too referential. Natalie Portman famously won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of an increasingly psychotic dancer. Though Portman clearly and commendably put a huge amount of effort into preparing for her role – losing weight, choreography and ballet training – the award is slightly puzzling until you see the other nominations. Given the sheer scope and scale of the project, this was effectively a shoo-in. The supporting acts, on the other hand, are strong. Vincent Cassel, as the martinet director of a prestigious New York City ballet company, effectively reprises the role of Anton Walbrook’s Boris Lermontov in Powell and Pressburger’s The Red Shoes (I warned you it is over-referential). Barbara Hershey gives a thoroughly convincing portrayal of a failed dancer turned overbearing mother, and Mila Kunis is excellent in portraying both the understudy of Portman’s character, Nina Sayers, and the sexually uninhibited creature of Sayers’ hallucinations. I have no idea how the nomination process works, but for my money Kunis could have been on the best supporting actress list.