Netflix’s ‘The Swan’ (2023) Short Movie Review

Netflix's 'The Swan' (2023) Short Movie Review

The Swan 2023 Review – If you enjoy captivating storytelling, ‘The Swan’ (2023) should be on your viewing list. Directed and produced with Wes Anderson’s trademark aesthetic flair, this 17-minute short is part of Netflix’s Roald Dahl adaptation series, marking his second installment out of four!

This article thoroughly reviews “The Swan” (2023), including its plot, performances, themes covered, the director’s distinctive style, and whether this short film deserves your viewing time.

Before we delve deeper, let’s quickly examine who played an instrumental role in creating ‘The Swan.’

Wes Anderson is well-known for creating whimsical yet visually arresting films, so it was no surprise that he would direct Roald Dahl’s novel adaptation ‘The Swan.’ Anderson brings his signature style of meticulous attention to detail and visually intriguing world creation to this adaptation of Roald Dahl’s works.

Rupert Friend, an esteemed actor previously seen collaborating with Anderson in “The French Dispatch,” plays both the narrator and Peter Watson himself; Ralph Fiennes reprises his role from the previous installment, “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar.”

Now that the stage has been set, let’s delve into ‘The Swan’ (2023) by unraveling its plot.

'The Swan' (2023) Plot Summary

‘The Swan’ (2023) Plot Summary

At its heart, “The Swan” is an engaging tale about resilience and bullying, a central theme in Roald Dahl’s works. Peter Watson is a young boy with a gentle soul who enjoys birdwatching as an outlet. But when local bullies Raymond and Ernie turn their wrath upon him through Ernie’s birthday present of an air rifle that sparks his interest, his peaceful world becomes marred.

Roald Dahl had long held onto an idea for “The Swan,” drawing inspiration from an obscure news story that had lain dormant in his ideas book for decades. While this film still retains some of Anderson’s signature humor, its tone takes a darker and more introspective path than its predecessor, ‘The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar.’

Instead of its predecessor, which employed an interwoven story structure, ‘The Swan’ prioritizes its central narrative. This shift allows for a stronger and more emotionally engaging exploration of its themes, which we shall discuss shortly.

Before delving deeper into this film, let us address one of its central concerns: its storyline.

Could ‘The Swan’ be more than just a cinematic narrative? Could it serve as an allegory for deeper human experiences?

We must scrutinize the film to answer this question, examining its themes and storytelling techniques.

Review of ‘The Swan’ (2023) Short Movie

“The Swan” (2023) is a testament to Roald Dahl and Wes Anderson as storytellers, providing a brief yet potent exploration of the effects of bullying and human spirit resilience. While Anderson’s distinct visual aesthetic permeates this film, its narrative also embraces Dahl’s prose for an unforgettable cinematic experience.

The film introduces us to Peter Watson, a friendly young boy who enjoys watching birds. However, his life takes an unfortunate turn when Raymond and Ernie begin relentlessly bullying him, fueled by Ernie’s preoccupation with his birthday rifle.

One distinguishing aspect of ‘The Swan’ is its departure from the more whimsical elements in ‘The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar.’ Instead, this play takes a more reflective and emotionally engaging approach, featuring stagehands shuffling props around. However, formal comedy may still exist due to the more contained setting.

What the film lacks in whimsicality, it more than makes up for with an impactful moral core. Unflinchingly depicting Peter’s journey and its harsh realities while ultimately conveying hope and resilience is at the core of this short film;. However, its conclusion leaves room for interpretation, its overall message of healing trauma through resilience remains clear.

Dahl’s ability to combine sweet and dark elements in ‘The Swan’ is a testament to his storytelling skills. He expertly creates characters you’ll root for and those to despise, infusing even its darkest moments with unusual beauty and creating moments that resonate deeply with audiences. Finally, the film builds to an emotional statement about the lasting impact of trauma that touches deeply within its audience.

'The Swan' (2023)

What is the Central message of ‘The Swan’ (2023), and how does the film convey the enduring human spirit in the face of adversity?

The Swan” (2023) is a short film that explores the intricate relationships between human nature, resilience, and the pursuit of freedom. At its heart lies its central message – human resilience in overcoming torment and bullying and turning hardship into an opportunity for personal development.

This film introduces us to Peter Watson, a kind, gentle young boy who finds comfort in birdwatching. Unfortunately, his peaceful world is disrupted when Raymond and Ernie start bullying him mercilessly; we then follow his journey from victim to survivor, likening his progress to that of a swan’s flight.

“The Swan” serves as an inspiring reminder that when faced with distressing experiences, individuals have a choice: either to surrender to darkness and succumb to despair or to emerge as stronger and more beautiful versions of themselves. It perfectly captures that, even under challenging circumstances, there is potential for growth and resilience.

Through its visually engaging storytelling and nuanced exploration of themes like bullying and trauma, ‘The Swan’ provokes viewers to consider the resilience of the human spirit despite overwhelming odds and our capacity to find beauty despite hardship. It stands as a testament to the power of storytelling to spread hope while sparking thought among an audience.

Should You Watch The Swan (2023)

Should You Watch “The Swan” (2023)?

Your answer depends entirely on your opinion of Wes Anderson’s distinctive style and interest in tales exploring the human experience. While ‘The Swan’ (2023) might not offer as much expansive entertainment as its predecessor – “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar” – it provides a worthwhile cinematic experience.

This film’s short running time of 17 minutes allows it to deliver its message quickly and concisely, something often lacking in more prominent episodes and feature films. Viewers can quickly absorb its themes and emotions without investing too much time into watching this one.

Wes Anderson’s directorial choices, including screen ratio and narration, heighten his storytelling. By selecting muted colours and captivating camera shots that maintain the audience’s attention throughout, Rupert Friend’s captivating narration ensures viewers feel fully immersed in the experience.

“The Swan” explores themes of bullying, trauma, and our choices when faced with hardship. It explores human interaction and personal growth, ultimately highlighting how transformational experiences and fears can be faced head-on and overcome.

Although ‘The Swan’ may not feature Anderson’s signature visual flair, its minimalist style creates a captivating viewing experience. Taking an intimate and personal view of its central character’s journey and using sensory elements (such as hearing an approaching train at crucial moments) adds dimension to the viewing experience.

In conclusion, ‘The Swan’ (2023) is an impressive short film that resonates with its audience. While not offering the visual extravagance found in Wes Anderson’s other projects, its depth of theme exploration compensates. Furthermore, its short running time ensures it can be watched quickly for maximum cinematic impact and enjoyment.

“The Swan” (2023) is an incredible testament to storytelling’s power to evoke emotion and provoke thought. Wes Anderson’s unique style and Roald Dahl’s story create a compelling narrative that leaves a lasting, impactful impression. No matter your taste in films or storytelling styles, don’t miss this short film by Wes Anderson: don’t miss “The Swan.”

‘The Swan’ (2023) is more than just a movie: it explores human nature, resilience, and the unceasing pursuit of freedom. Take flight with the characters in this film as you discover the beauty that lies beyond adversity.

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