Darren Aronofsky's dark tale was conceived from his interest in Swan Lake which he was exposed to initially through his sister, who was part of the High School of Performing Arts in New York City. Aronofsky has said that his idea for the film has elements from the films All About Eve, The Tenant, and Dostoyevsky's The Double.
The director uses his camera to create a world that borders on reality and psychosis. We see examples of this when Nina sees the drawings come to life, or her legs begins to snap back and break before she hits her head and passes out. Other moments are intentionally cringe-worthy: Nina smashing her mother's hand in the door, or cutting her nails. Aronofsky keeps the audience right on the borderline of paranoia, uncertain as to what is going to happen. We, as the audience, enter into this world Nina lives in in an emotionally charged way because of this. And, thus we become part of the story, just as Nina becomes the Black Swan at the end of the film, completely transformed.