The Swan (2023) Netflix Movie Review – A wonderfully surreal tribute to Dahl

A wonderfully surreal tribute to Dahl

Produced by Wes Anderson, The Swan is a delightfully surreal short film. The story is adapted from Roald Dahl’s tale sporting the same name; inspired by a newspaper excerpt that Dahl carried around in his suitcase for nearly 30 years.

The story is a simple one, and revolves around a small boy tormented by two bullies, who grow increasingly more dangerous and crazed as the film progresses.

The narrative, narrated by Rupert Friend, moves quickly and it plays out more like a stage production and its minimalist style is partly why this has so much charm. However, it’s the visuals that’ll keep you mesmerised and glued to the screen. All the usual Anderson tricks are here, including some great uses of colour and trippy, engaging camera shots that show off a range of different techniques.

You’ve got your usual tracking shots and static cameras but equally, there’s a very distinctive directorial choice to try and instil some of those Dahl qualities of humour too. At one point, our narrator talks to the cameraman, who messes up and points the lens at the wrong object before righting itself. These little quirks are a great addition and really help the film stand out.

The themes this story plays with ultimately tackles that of freedom, endurance and faith. This can be seen numerous times throughout the narrative and it’s captured really well here. Of course the motif of the swan and taking flight are the big talking points here, and that’s captured well in this short film.

Ultimately, The Swan is a well written and brilliantly produced short. It’s got Wes Anderson’s style all over this and it absolutely helps spread its wings and elevate to new heights. Dahl would be proud of this one.

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  • Verdict - 7.5/10

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