Film Review: Swan Song


While you might not be able to place where you’ve seen him, Udo Kier has one of the most recognisable faces in modern cinema. While the German actor has often been cast as the bad guy, due to his distinctive looks and accent, he has portrayed just about every type of character you can imagine. Kier is a great character actor, appearing in almost two hundred films, and is usually the most memorable thing in them. In Swan Song, he’s the star.

Pat Pitsenbarger (Kier) is playing out his last days quietly and tediously in a nursing home. The retired hairdresser was a bit of a local celebrity in his heyday, but now feels lost and forgotten. When a famous former customer dies, he’s asked to return to his old stomping ground to fix her hair one last time. He initially refuses because she cast him aside when he was most vulnerable, but feels compelled to go. Embarking on an odyssey to confront the demons of his past.

Swan Song is a wonderful coda to a career which has been so varied and rich. Kier gives his best performance in Todd Stephens’ new film. He’s mesmerising. In a bittersweet drama which plays hard and fast with cinematic rules to create a fun and entertaining romp. Swan Song will leave a smile on your face. Mixing subtle humour with outlandish comedy to create and irreverent road movie/homecoming for the prodigal son.

Swan Song is out in cinemas on 10 June.  

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