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The 50 Greatest American Independent Movies
Empire celebrates Independence Day the independent way

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42. Black Swan (2011)

Black Swan

Director: Darren Aronofsky

The shower-in-a-teacup over how much Oscar-winner Natalie Portman danced in Darren Aronofsky’s twisted little ballet-horror dunderheadedly missed the point(e). Her performance is this film’s roaring engine (just as Aronofsky made sure Mickey Rourke would power his previous movie, The Wrestler), and her director never lets her forget it, keeping his (mostly handheld) camera right up in her face. Mutating from blown-glass fragility into fierce, heaving sensuality, Portman charts a woman’s pressure-cooked, perfection-seeking descent into all-consuming, self-immolating delusion without putting a foot wrong. It’s not about dance training, it’s about acting. Which is why she’s just as impressive portraying Nina phone her mother to tell her she’s bagged the role of the Swan Queen as she is on stage performing the Queen herself. 

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Your Comments

1 Love it but...
Great list and of course there is no way to fit in more in a list of just 50. I'm missing Badlands on this one. It's a masterpiece and probably Malick's best. More

Posted by scparegien on Tuesday August 20, 2013, 15:55

2 No documentaries?
Great list, but would have liked some documentaries on the list. Fantastic with inclusion of 'In Search of a Midnight Kiss', but would have liked to see 'Zero Day' (http://indiemondo.com/zero-day/) on the list as well. More

Posted by indiemondo.com on Saturday June 15, 2013, 19:23

3 Great Feature Film Shot On DSLR
Hot New Indie Film "STEEL CHAMBER" (Suspense/Thriller) You Can Play A Major Role In Its Success! Watch Trailer: http://tinyurl.com/SteelChamberMovie Get Behind This Indie Film! More

Posted by bobbywash on Monday April 15, 2013, 07:15

4 RE: I booked Christopher Cross
Support for that? More

Posted by elab49 on Monday April 1, 2013, 10:09

5 I booked Christopher Cross
A great list, but most of these are unavailable to stream on Netflix. This is quite lame. It's time for these studios and distributors to ante up and accept the fact that most people are not going to purchase DVD's anymore. More

Posted by TikiMan on Sunday March 31, 2013, 05:02

6 The best of the best is not on this list
I've seen the vast majority of the movies on this list, and I agree that they all belong on the list. But, in my opinion the best independent movie of all time is: Special (2006). More

Posted by jay.baker on Sunday January 20, 2013, 03:53

7 What the hell?
Most of the list was correct, but the fact you forgot Halloween is amazing. That had a very low budget and it helped pave the way for other horror indies (like the Last House On the Left, or Friday the 13th). More

Posted by RicoDiGiorgio on Friday November 23, 2012, 17:21

8 RE:
Fine list which makes makes me want to watch a lot of those films. One MAJOR flaw to the list which is I think is a crime: Where the hell is Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind? More

Posted by R W on Monday July 4, 2011, 13:13

9 RE: The 50 Greatest American Independent Movies
A well-considered list; although I'm sure many will question why their favourites etc aren't on there. With this in mind, here's a cursory handful worth looking into if the American Indie list there gets anyone interested: The Living End (Gregg Araki) Gummo (Harmony Korine) Ken Park (Larry Clark) More

Posted by Keyser_So_So on Monday July 4, 2011, 01:32

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