Tuesday, June 18, 2024

The Swan


Based on the short story by Roald Dahl, The Swan is the story of a young boy who is pursued by two ignorant bullies until one of them kills a swan to the horror of the young boy. Written for the screen and directed by Wes Anderson, the film is the second film in a series of short films based on short stories by Dahl as it explores a young boy coming of age. Starring Ralph Fiennes, Rupert Friend, Asa Jennings, Eliel Ford, Truman Hanks, Benoit Herlin, and Octavio Tapia. The Swan is a touching and somber film by Wes Anderson.

The film revolves around a young boy had been bullied by two ignorant older boys who get a kick out of killing small birds as they bully the boy and kill a swan in front of him. It is a 17-minute short film that explores a young boy who is pushed to the edge as he is a bird lover as it is told by a man named Peter Watson (Rupert Friend) who was that young boy as he recalls this entire incident that shaped his life. Wes Anderson’s script is largely told through Peter Watson as he accompanies his younger self (Asa Jennings) over this incident in which he witnesses two older boys shooting small birds with a rifle where he is put into a near-death experience and the witness the death of a swan as these bullies would push the young Peter to the edge. Notably as it would have this aftermath over what happened as Roald Dahl (Ralph Fiennes) tells it.

Anderson’s direction does have its sense of style with carefully tight compositions in the wide and medium shots while also in its usage of tracking and dolly shots in its 1:33:1 aspect ratio. Shot on location at the Maidstone Studios in Kent, England, Anderson maintains a stripped-down approach in the setting of long fields and a train track while stagehands appear every now and then. Anderson also maintains an intimacy in the direction in the usage of close-ups in a scene where the older Peter talks about his near-death experience with the younger Peter watching in the background. Anderson also plays into the violence though he doesn’t show anything but rather through older Peter’s narration and a scene where the older Peter wear swan wings as it would lead to this conclusion narrated by Dahl. Overall, Anderson creates a compelling and evocative film about a man reflecting on a terrible incident he dealt with as a child.

Cinematographer Roman Coppola does brilliant work with the film’s straightforward photography to play into the bright look of the fields as well as some low-key lighting for a few of the film’s interior scenes. Editors Barney Pilling and Andrew Weisblum do excellent work with the editing where it is straightforward with very few rhythmic cuts to play into the rhythm of Peter’s narration. Production designer Adam Stockhausen, along with art directors Claire Peerless and Kevin Timon Hill, does incredible work with the look of the pond and fields that is used for the environment along with a few interior settings to play into the artificiality to play into this man’s story. Costume designer Kasia Walicka Maimone does nice work with the costumes with a few clothes the young Peter wears as well as the suit the older Peter wears.

Hair/makeup designers Naomi Donne and Frances Hannon do fantastic work with the look of the characters that include the haircuts that the characters have including a few wigs that the stagehands wear. Visual effects supervisor Jean-Francois Ferland does terrific work with the visual effects as it is set-dressing for a few backgrounds including the scene involving the swan. Sound editor Wayne Lemmer does superb work with the sound in the sound effects that are created including some of the sparse moments as it is a highlight of the film.

The film’s wonderful ensemble cast features some notable small roles from Eliel Ford, Truman Hanks, Benoit Herlin, and Octavio Tapia as stagehands who play various roles while providing props needed for the film. Asa Jennings is fantastic as the young Peter where he does maintain a low-key presence despite not having any dialogue yet does bring a lot of importance to this story of a kid being bullied. Ralph Fiennes is excellent in his brief appearance as Roald Dahl as the man who authored the story while adding some insight into the aftermath of the story that is being told. Finally, there’s Rupert Friend in an incredible performance as the older Peter who narrates his own story about a troubling incident he encountered as a kid where he narrates what happened to him while also doing so many things as it is a restrained yet engaging performance from Friend.

The Swan is a phenomenal film by Wes Anderson. Featuring a great cast, a compelling story of trauma, a stripped-down setting, and its unconventional approach to storytelling while breaking down the fourth wall. The short film is a charming yet simple short that plays into a man reflecting on a traumatic event while also reflecting on what pushed him to the edge. In the end, The Swan is an incredible film from Wes Anderson.

Wes Anderson Films: Bottle Rocket - Rushmore - The Royal Tenenbaums - The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou - Hotel Chevalier - The Darjeeling Limited - Fantastic Mr. Fox - Moonrise Kingdom - Castello Cavalcanti - The Grand Budapest Hotel - Isle of Dogs - The French Dispatch - Asteroid City - The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar - The Rat CatcherPoison – (The Phoenician Scheme) - The Auteurs #8: Wes Anderson

Wes Anderson Film Soundtracks: Bottle Rocket - Rushmore - The Royal Tenenbaums - The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou - Seu Jorge-The Life Aquatic Studio Sessions - The Darjeeling Limited - Fantastic Mr. Fox - (Moonrise Kingdom) – (The Grand Budapest Hotel) – (Isle of Dogs) – (The French Dispatch) – (Asteroid City)

© thevoid99 2024

No comments: