The Swan

Directed by: Wes Anderson
Distributed by: Netflix

Written by Alexander Reams


A starkly different film from previous Dahl adaptations, “The Swan” is a dark comedy with a twisted sense of humor delivered by a deadpan Rupert Friend in his second collaboration with Wes Anderson. What starts out as a normal day for Peter Watson (Rupert Friend as an adult, Asa Jennings as a child) becomes hell on earth as he is tormented multiple times by two large unnamed bullies, who also happen to be rather dull. Friend delivers most of the dialogue as we observe the actions described being inflicted on Jennings, he lays on train tracks as one goes over him, and eventually is made to wear swan wings (real ones). When the wings are attached, the slight blood and bones that are visible bring the disconnected story back to Earth. It’s a reminder of true cruelty and disregard for others in an environment, but with the production design of Wes Anderson. Again shot on a stage, but this film is presented primarily outside and always feels that way while still evoking a theater sensibility. It’s a gruesome tale but with the lighthearted sensibility of Anderson it makes the scene, and the film as a whole work. “The Swan” confirms long-standing theories that Anderson is a dark comedy master, and with his continued collaboration with Friend it only gets better.

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