Darren Aronofsky’s maddening adaptation of Swan Lake is certainly an expert piece of cinema. Not as philosophically overblown as The Fountain nor as preachy as Requiem for a Dream, although certainly not as grounded or poignant as The Wrestler, it’s still one of his best works. Natalie Portman is superbly over-the-top, but so is almost everyone else (has Vincent Cassel ever been more slimy?). The ideas at the heart of Black Swan have been done before—performance bleeding into real life, suffering artists, our innate dark side—and they have been done before in much more depth. But Aronofsky tackles it in such a preposterous, overblown way and yet with such directorial control and style that it’s hard not to get swept along.