The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ based on 1 review.

tl;dr: How has it taken this long for someone to pair Wes Andersen with Roald Dahl again? Beautifully staged whimsy.


Spoilers Ahead: My reviews are not spoiler-free. You have been warned.

Let's be honest, this would be almost hard to get wrong. A Roald Dahl short story transcribed word-for-word into a film, directed and designed by Wes Andersen, and starring Ralph Fiennes, Benedict Cumberbatch, Dev Patel, Ben Kingsley, and Richard Ayoade (a curveball on that last one, for sure, but it works). It's beautiful, from start to finish. The story itself is written – and voiced – in that wonderfully lyrical way that Dahl manages so well, and each of the actors manage to copy that specific cadence so perfectly that I think you could re-roll the cameras having totally switched the rolls around, and the words would fall at the same points on the editing timeline exactly.

The combination of moving, theatrical sets, and constant eye-contact from the leads whenever they are talking (seriously, how many takes must have been botched by people needing to blink, or was this digitally altered somehow?), is utterly arresting and leaves you enthralled. That the film then also toys with the illusion of perfection by deliberately revealing the stage tricks – from the clearly mirrored box that people levitate with, to the fact the projection screen behind any cars doesn't quite come down low enough to cover the rest of the scaffolding behind – is just, well, 👩‍🍳😘

I hear there are others in this mini-series of mini-films, and I very much look forward to seeing them!

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