[Spoiler] The first thing we're introduced to is a black room with a spotlight of a dancer just off the centre of the screen with the voice over stating "I had a dream last night about a girl who was turned into a swan, and her prince falls for the wrong girl, and she kills herself" - That is the story summed up. But we don't particularly notice this, because the close up of feet and intricate moves she makes brings us more focused on the picture than the voice.
Now a more threatening pipe song comes into focus as we see the film has been very successful in film festivals including Venice and Toronto - Bringing a sense of hype to the making of this film.
An establishing shot of the ballet room the film places much emphasis on gives us an idea of where the film is based, with lots of very talented dancers practising together in a dark room - Notice the walls and floor are all black. This colour is of key focus to the cinematography.
We're quickly introduced to the main characters including the teacher, Thomas (Vincent Cassel), the mother, Erica (Barbara Hershey) and of course the lead dancer who was, we assume, at the beginning of this trailer, Nina (Natalie Portman). We gain a little background information like how Nina will be focused more this year in the shows, and how passionate she is about the dancing - And then the music begins raise pace as "Directed by Darren Aronofsky" appears. Also notice that when the titles appear, the background is black feathers - Swan's feathers. We see she gains the lead role in Swan Lake, and just cut at the point her smile begins to fade. With this and the music intensifying, we're not celebrating, but are wondering what's wrong.
Another quick close up of the rival friend, Lily (Mila Kunis) is given. The cutting between the shots also raises with the music, which causes a rushing feeling when watching it, making you anxious. With this, the shots become unpleasant. We see pain, anger and fast paced movement all equating to this uneasy aura.
A hint towards the sexual themes in this story is given by Thomas mentioning how sensual Lily is, and how Nina needs to respond to his touch. This provides another layer to the narrative, so with the dance story and the competition between Lily, we now see this almost slight sadistic level to the film.
The music is louder and the dialogue picks up pace, with a scene of very tense nail cutting. None of this seems like a story about a ballet dancer, and really it shows the flaws and brutality behind being one of these people - Much like all other Aronofsky films. So you are reassured that if you're a fan of his previous work, this will live up to expectation.
The mother is now seen as obsessive with cut backs to her tending to her daughter in an unnatural way. At the point of the "Ow" statement, we know this isn't going to be lightly entertaining in terms of a story to listen to. The mother is also wearing black, like Thomas and Lily - All offering this sense of threat towards Nina as she is constantly in light colours including pink, grey and cream.
Now's when it gets complicated. We hear "The only person standing in the way is you" with her reflection not following her, but having a world of it's own - Double personality signifier. The music has this wind like noise matching to the movement of reflection, almost paranormal like. And the screen goes black giving vulnerability.
Single close ups of a trinket box with a broken ballerina and a foot moving with dark, haunting sounds of the wood inside the shoe tapping now appear and then we see this other personality appear, in black. The images races on screen with a very quick glace at Beth (Winona Ryder) and confusing images of lesbian kisses, screams and dancing all merged into one.
At the point of the music climaxing, we hear "What's happened to my sweet girl?" "She's gone!" and Nina is now the black swan. After this, violins play a tune which is almost sad in a way. We see the stars of the titles appear, and then are thrown straight back into film is an extreme close up of a feather being pulled from the skin of Nina. And we cut to Nina staring at this feather, scared with red eyes - We don't know what's happened, and nor does she. But boy, are we captivated.