Brow Beat

This Video Essay Explores All the Parallels Between Whiplash and Black Swan 

Obsessive perfectionists with tunnel vision are a cinematic mainstay—just look at Danny Boyle’s upcoming Steve Jobs biopic. But two recent movies in this vein, Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan and Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash, have several narrative and compositional similarities, starting with the fact that both movies follow young, New York-based artists who will stop at nothing to become the best of the best. A few critics alluded to parallels between the films when Whiplash came out last year, but Vimeo user Fernando Andrés has gone deep. Andrés’ exceptionally well-made video essay “Hands and Feet” breaks down all of the shared plot points and aesthetic choices that make these films two peas in an Oscar-friendly pod.

The similarities between the movies extend all the way to their final shots, so if you haven’t seen either Black Swan or Whiplash, be aware that the video contains spoilers. The parallels also include lingering shots of bleeding, contorted appendages, so if you’re sensitive to that sort of thing, consider yourself warned.