The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar / The Swan / No One Will Save You
The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar
This week, Netflix released the first two installments of short films by Wes Anderson, which are adapted from Roald Dahl's short stories.
The first film is based on the beloved short work, "The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar." It follows the journey of a rich man who learns about meditation and works towards enlightenment in order to cheat at cards. The film begins with Roald Dahl, played by Ralph Fiennes, introducing us to the story. The cast includes both familiar Anderson collaborators and some new faces. Ben Kingsley steals the show as Imdad Khan, the man who can see without eyes. However, Ralph Fiennes, Richard Ayoade, Benjamin Cumberbatch, and Dev Patel also shine in their roles.
I thoroughly enjoyed watching this film. It showcases Anderson's quirky and idiosyncratic filmmaking style, while the cinematography and effects have a wonderfully warm and do-it-yourself feel. The color palette is more neutral compared to Anderson's recent films, which adds to the warmth and vintage atmosphere.
Unsurprisingly, Anderson does an incredible job capturing Dahl's voice. The film is mostly narrated, and this could have been a misstep in the hands of someone else. However, here it adds a sense of awe and a deep respect for the source material. The narrators skillfully tell the story while immersing us in the characters' world.
"The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar" is incredibly funny and inventive. It is evident that Anderson and the crew had a great time making this film.
The second short film, "The Swan," is about half the length of "The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar." It features simpler set designs and fewer characters, but it still delivers an emotional impact. The color palette and aesthetics for this film, with its 16mm film look and aspect ratio, are particularly captivating, as they are steeped in earth tones.
Rupert Friend serves as the narrator in "The Swan." He takes us through the short tale with a sense of wonder and seamlessly switches between narrating and voicing different characters. The film depicts a young boy who is relentlessly pursued and bullied by two boys whose actions become increasingly disturbing as the story progresses.
The visuals captured in this short film are stunning and effective. The engrossing sound design and the film stock used, with its textured and tactile beauty, contribute to the realism of this surreal story. Anderson effectively portrays the helplessness felt by the main character as the bullies refuse to leave him alone, and we witness his power being stripped away with each action.
"The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar" and "The Swan" are both available on Netflix now. "The Rat Catcher" was released today, September 29th, and "Poison" will be released tomorrow, Saturday, September 30th. I can't wait to watch them.
No One Will Save You
I started watching the new Hulu film "No One Will Save You" without any prior knowledge of it. Needless to say, I had very low expectations for a film that quietly premiered on Hulu last week. However, when I saw that it was a sci-fi/horror film and starred Kaitlyn Dever, whom I've loved in everything I've seen her in, especially "Booksmart," I decided to give it a chance. To my surprise, I was blown away.
This film surpassed all my expectations. As someone who often finds a lack of fear or thrills in most modern horror films, I still watch them in the hope of being surprised. So when a film like this comes along, it's incredibly satisfying. Director Brian Duffield has put together an incredibly effective film that explores themes of anxiety and grief, as well as the fear of confronting past wrongdoings. The story opens in an idyllic town where Brynn, played with depth and conviction by Dever, is enjoying her time at home. However, as she prepares to go into town, her anxiety grows, and we don't feel safe until she returns home. Unfortunately, that evening, an alien breaks into her house, presumably to abduct her, and from that point on, the anxiety grips us and doesn't let go.
Without going into details, I must say that Kaitlyn Dever delivers an incredible performance. The film relies on minimal dialogue, so we have to feel her anxiety, strength, fear, and humanity through her facial expressions and actions, and Dever rises to the challenge. The sound design is immersive and effective, and the special effects are surprisingly good considering the film's presumably limited budget.
I thoroughly enjoyed this film, and it's exciting to come across such a tense and effective sci-fi thriller just in time for spooky season.
One One Will Save You is now available on Hulu