Swan Track (2022) Evaluation

Veteran German character actor Udo Kier has appeared in over 200 movies, from Breaking The Waves to Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. He’s labored with everybody from Martin Scorsese to Rainer Fassbinder. He’s performed everybody from the Pope to Hitler. He has the sort of acquainted face that may have you ever reaching to your IMDb app, a real, “Oh, that man!” chameleon. It’s becoming, then, that his first main function — on the ripe previous age of 77 — is a correct character, with a capital C.

After a long time as a day participant on different folks’s movies, there’s one thing chic about seeing Kier dominate each scene of this light, tender dramedy, and he doesn’t squander the chance. He performs Pat Pitsenbarger — primarily based on a real-life “queer legend” of the identical title from Sandusky, Ohio — with a mix of wistful unhappiness, cranky irascibility and glitter-encrusted camp, and provides the function texture and tenacity. Once we first meet Pat, he looks like every other resident of his care residence: a grumpy previous codger, dressed head to toe in grubby slacks, who’s not so scorching on his toes anymore.

Then, when One Final Job arrives out of nowhere, Pat makes his method — on foot — to the funeral, gathering supplies and recollections as he goes. Author-director Todd Stephens ekes out particulars of Pat’s eventful life slowly throughout the working time. There’s a former associate, who appears to have handed in tragic circumstances; his former residence, now an empty plot of land; an arch-rival hairdresser and stylist, performed with typical larger-than-life glamour by Jennifer Coolidge; and the deceased consumer who set him on the journey within the first place, whom he describes as a “demanding Republican monster”, earlier than including, with a slight upturned smile, “…I adored her.”

It makes the largest impression when positioning Pat as a sort of elder statesman of the LGBTQ group.

Stephens’ script is peppered with these bittersweet reflections, and it makes the largest impression when positioning Pat as a sort of elder statesman of the LGBTQ group. One superbly pitched scene sees Pat and an previous good friend ruefully watch two younger homosexual dads play with their youngsters, the years of once-unthinkable progress there in entrance of their eyes. Later, Pat visits a homosexual membership and common previous hang-out, solely to be taught it’s closing down, and the movie ponders the place LGBTQ folks can discover a sense of group when such pleasant areas disappear.

Exterior of those scenes, nevertheless, the movie feels a bit thinly sketched, treading water dramatically whereas Pat strikes on to his subsequent nostalgic encounter. It verges on slight: the movie’s highest stakes concern Pat monitoring down an previous model of shampoo. But it surely has a winningly reflective heat to it, and credit score should go to Kier’s efficiency for making Pat simply so rattling likeable, despite his withering scowls. He serves up seems in all method of fabulous fashions — from a pastel safari go well with to an previous woman’s pink hat — whereas chain-smoking cigarillos, and thru all of it, nonetheless one way or the other stays wistful. It’s a reminder that he’s one in every of our most dear character actors; right here’s hoping it doesn’t take one other 200 movies earlier than his subsequent lead function.

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