The Rat Catcher (2023) Movie Review – A deliciously twisted short story

A deliciously twisted short story

The Road Dahl collection continues on Netflix today with The Rat Catcher, a wonderful ode to Dahl’s oddities and surreal sense of narrative wonder. The story is a simple one but incredibly engaging, and Wes Anderson’s style really helps this one shine and stand out.

Narrated by Richard Ayoade, and performed by Ralph Fiennes and Rupert Friend, the story sees Ayoade serve as both the story’s narrative crux and also its driver. Fiennes is fantastic as the Rat Man too, exuding a strange menace and crazed look, brought to life with a deliciously twisted charm.

This certainly helps keep this 15 minute short engaging, as the narrative recounts the story of a professional rodent killer called Rat Man showing up in a quaint village and intending to kill the rats there, which are seemingly becoming a menace.

The first half sticks to the usual Wes Anderson trickery, with lots of subtle camera cuts, lovely tracking shots and some really nice depth of field views. However, it’s the second half that stands out, as Anderson’s creative use of lighting and shadows, while a creative use of animation helps bring this tale to life in the best possible way.

For those unaware, The Rat Catcher is actually inspired by a short story Dahl wrote while living at Wisteria Cottage in the late forties. You can really see his trademark style all over this one, and the narrative is brought to life in a really compelling way.

The ambiguous ending is another talking point that definitely leaves food for thought; you certainly won’t look at liquorice in the same way again! Ultimately, this is another very good short film and well worth a watch.

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  • Verdict - 7.5/10

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