Wes Anderson short films on Netflix review: Fun, simple, yet an intriguing telling of Roald Dahl stories

Karishma Jangid
New Update
'The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar', 'The Swan', 'The Rat Catcher', and 'Poison'

In this article, we review Netflix's four short films based on Roald Dahl’s short stories, directed by Wes Anderson - 'The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar', 'The Swan', 'The Rat Catcher', and 'Poison'. 

Roald Dahl’s stories and Wes Anderson’s unique storytelling have predictably led to a fun group of short films. Over the last week, Netflix released four short films based on Roald Dahl’s short stories, directed by Wes Anderson - 'The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar', 'The Swan', 'The Rat Catcher', and 'Poison'. These are simple, fun movies with intriguing stories.

The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar revolves around Henry Sugar (Benedict Cumberbatch), a rich but greedy man who learns to view the back of a card without looking and uses this power to cheat at gambling. The story is packed with Indian mysticism and sages and keeps you hooked. You can read our review of The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar here.

The Swan revolves around two bullies, Raymond and Ernie, who harass a little boy named Peter. An older Peter (Rupert Friend), with an expression that says little but a tone that says a lot, recalls the trauma that little Peter went through. The film keeps you on the edge throughout its 17 minute long run time. It makes you laugh and ponder while sensitizing you simultaneously. The film's strength, without a doubt, is Friend with his stiff posture but remarkable acting.

Also Read: Asteroid City review: Wes Anderson's latest film is to be enjoyed more than understood

The Rat Catcher, starring Friend, is nauseating yet intriguing with a horror-like aura. Claud (Friend) calls the Rat Man (Ralph Fiennes), who is a master at catching and even killing rats and takes the trade very seriously. The film follows him as he, creepily and eerily, teaches Claud how to get into a rat's brain and kill him. Saying anything else about the film would be giving spoilers except that the star of this film is Fiennes, and he makes this psychological horror of sorts, a very daunting watch.

Poison, starring Cumberbatch, Ben Kingsley, and Dev Patel, revolves around Harry Pope (Cumberbatch), a British man in colonial India, who is stuck in his bed with a Krait snake on his belly. Helping him in his ordeal are his servant Woods (Patel) and Dr. Ganderbai (Kingsley). Will they be able to get rid of the snake? Will it bite Harry? What happens if it does? The short film keeps you on the edge of your seat. 

The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Poison are set in colonial India and share the same set of actors, while The Rat Catcher and The Swan are set in Europe and have Friend starring in both. However, all the movies are very much alike. A rapidly talking narrator talks to you non-stop in monologues while the backgrounds theatrically change in front of you. All the films bear the Wes Anderson hallmark. However, throughout the four films, it is evident, upon watching, that he keeps experimenting. This time Anderson gives you minimal sets, focusing more on the story and the dialogues. These stories, based on author Dahl’s works have stories within stories. The character of Dahl himself appears on the screen as you let the core of the story sink in. These stories are hilarious and horrifying, and comment on human nature in a manner unique to Dahl. Adding Anderson's charm to these stories has converted these stories into intriguing yet short, simple, fun short films. 

The abovementioned four short films are streaming on Netflix.

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The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar Wes Anderson netflix Poison The Rat Catcher The Swan