I’ve been asked to only do a short piece on SWAN SONG and then do a full review when the film is released August 6. I’m perfectly happy to do that because it’s very easy to write a piece for the North Bend Film Festival and simply say that Udo Keir deserves to be in the running for a Best Actor Oscar. And I while I don’t rationally think he will win (the Academy frequently goes for the favorite instead of the real best performance) I do think it will be a sin if he doesn’t at least get a nomination.
Keir plays Pat Pitsenbarger a hairdresser living in a nursing home. He is there because at some point in the past he has had a stroke. He spends his days sneaking smokes and hanging out with the other residents. An unexpected visitor shows up and tells him he will get 25 grand if he does the hair for a recently passed friend. Things didn’t end well between Pat and his friend, but she wanted to mend fences in her last days and left money to make up for lost time. Keir at first refuses but then heads off on one last great adventure.
There is much to say, and I will in a longer piece, but for now see this film because Keir is a revelation. Sure he is a force of nature and the grand gestures are noticeable but watch the small moments. Watch the little gestures and the way we see what is going on behind his eyes. It’s stunning. Its one of the best performances of the last decade and it must be seen.