BY ELLIOT LINES OCTOBER 6, 2023
This piece was written during the 2023 SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labour of the actors currently on strike, the movie/series/feature being covered here wouldn't exist.
Wes Anderson, a household name in the directors chair, surprised many when revealing that he would be working on 2 projects in the year 2023. Earlier this year we got feature film Asteroid City and recently The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar a short film based on a Roald Dahl story. However, this wasn't the end of his releases, in the days after Henry Sugar we were blessed with another 3 short films (17 minutes each) based on the stories of Roald Dahl.
A young boy, Peter Watson, is harassed and essentially kidnapped by two vicious, heartless, gun-armed bullies. Peter is intelligent and a keen studier of wildlife, especially birds. His torment is heightened when the bullies turn the aim of their gun on a beautiful swan.
The darkest of the 3 short films. The Swan depicts a young boy being harassed, quite brutally, by two bullies. This subject matter lends into Anderson's young adult way of story telling. Set in the English countryside, The Swan is narrated by an older version of Peter Watson, set amongst backdrops of wheat and minimal skies it takes a very minimalistic approach. Anderson's attempt to impact this story upon you doesn't quite work, and doesn't hit all the emotional notes this story needs to have any lasting effect.
The Rat Catcher
In an English village, a reporter and a mechanic listen to a rat catcher explain his clever plan to outwit his prey.
An intrigue is created by the performance of Ralph Fiennes. Playing "The Rat Catcher" he brings an un-nervousness to the screen and to those around him. The man himself is an expert on rats, and that's obvious to see as it seems he's taking on the same characteristics as said animal. There is a roughness to this short, but Fiennes makes it a watchable tale due to his portrayal of this grimy obsessed man.
When a poisonous snake slithers onto an Englishman's stomach in India, his associate and a doctor race to save him.
Poison has the least happen, yet there is plenty to the story. Throughout the short Harry (Benedict Cumberbatch) is laid still in a bed while his associate, Woods (Dev Patel), and Doctor (Ben Kinsley) attempt to try and solve the predicament he has found himself in. Poison manages to captivate just by asking "What's going to happen?", leading to 17 minutes of questioning the outcome of this tale.