It is possible that you have seen and even been amazed Udo Kier, even if you don’t know his name. This guy has been acting since the late 1960s and has appeared in many projects from a beloved work of art to a populist mainstream film. During this time, she has always done everything seductively from dancing on a lamppost to a menacing performance. Vince Vaughn.
But one thing Kier hasn’t gotten much of in his acting time is the lead roles. He got a handful of lead roles in his early appearances (namely, in a few monster films in the 1970s and 1980s), but most of his roles have been as character actors, especially in his English-language works.
Well, for those of us who consider ourselves fanatics of Kier’s work, we were given a gift in 2021 Swan song. It’s not a film that made significant waves in its August 2021 debut, but it should be on more radars. Not only is it a well-done feature on its own terms, but it’s also a welcome example of Udo Kier, who secures the lead role.
In Swan song, Kier portrays Pat Pitsenbarger, a hairdresser who once had contacts with as many celebrities as there are stars in the sky. But that’s all a thing of the past now, as Pitsenbarger is located in a nursing home in Sandusky, Ohio. His days are determined by clever tobacco breaks and the fact that he does not communicate with anyone. However, things start to change when he gets to know that his friend is dead. This former colleague asked Pittsburgh to do a transformation for him before the funeral. Although Pitsenbarger initially hesitated to take on the task, he sets out to complete the task and encounters a world outside the nursing home that is dramatically different from the one he previously knew.
Part of what makes Kier’s work so fun at this point of view is how it works as a comment to Kier himself. Pitsenbarger’s huge legacy as a hairdresser evokes Kier’s significant accomplishments as an actress. Meanwhile, Pitsenbarger has developed competition, including the lingering resentment of hair expert Dee Dee Dale (Jennifer Coolidge), repeats how often Kier has played villains on his screen. He may not stab people or demand a ransom Swan song, but here too Kier presents a character who is able to leave behind emotional destruction.
Swan song even uses his story as an opportunity to offer opposites to the recurring features of Kier’s filmography. Especially both Kier’s acting and script / direction Todd Stephens describes Pitsenbarger openly as a strange man. This decision for Kier seems like a kind of recovery from how often this performer has performed queer-coded villains. Now some of those roles were quite delicious to watch. However, after being so often given parts where weirdness is synonymous with malice, it’s fun to see him acting out a clearly strange man whose sexuality is only one part of his being. It’s one of many features that reflect the way you look anywhere Swan song, you are sure to find varying influence over Udo Kier’s vast career.
It’s not just because it handles weirdness Swan song offers an interesting departure from previous Kier performances. This project also gives Kier the opportunity to take advantage of actresses he often fails to embrace in his darker antagonist roles. A welcome subversive turn, Pitsenbarger greets the changing world not with a fist to the cloud, but with an indifferent nature. This means that Kier has several opportunities to enter into a warm relationship with young people who have come to own houses and businesses in Sandusky, Ohio. Kier has so often been extremely scary on the big screen that it’s impressive to see how well he can get on top of his charm and friendly nature.
This also means scenes of extreme joy Swan song can feel as euphoric as possible, especially the unforgettable dance scene in the third show, where Pistenbarger dances with a room full of people in a gay bar. Kier gives infectious joy in his cry to the younger gay man how much his character forgot how much fun it was to hang out with our “peoples”. Although the motive for this improvised hike is death, Swan song to find opportunities for Kier to present his gift to convey such irresistible happiness.
At the opposite end of the tonal spectrum Swan song also uses Kier’s visibility to take advantage of the performer’s gift of spraying so much touching the box. Much of this is due to the aging of Kier’s character, a feature of this actor that hasn’t been used very often for emotional purposes in movies. Previously, Kier’s age was used to convey a sense of unwavering authority. In projects from Bucarau towards Blade, he was the guy who was able to communicate with the single that he had seen everything and didn’t want to mess with him.
But here in Swan song, Kier’s older age is quietly used to reflect the character’s mortality. These include moments when Pitsenbarger drowns in the memories she had just lived with her late husband. A similar silent devastating meeting at Pitsenbarger with an old friend, an exchange that only confirms how alone this man is at an older age. In both moments of the past, Kier portrays his character so nicely. The fragile state of mortality that triggers the plot is always emphasized in Kier ‘s work, where the actor’ s age is utilized to emphasize vulnerability, not to sharp intimidation.
These qualities are conveyed very subtly to a man who is so often played in a delightfully superior way. Adopting this restrained route makes Kier’s work as a Pitsenbarger feel even more nuanced and broadly humane. This performer can only use Pitsenbarger’s position as he sits to tell of the sadness he has touched over the years and the friendships he has lost. Kier’s performance is always aware that we look at a man who is well aware that the grains of sand are slowly slipping out of his hourglass and his job is all the better.
This is no ordinary terrain that the Kier performance travels to. However, the actor turns out to be so emotional Swan song that it makes you wonder why more movies haven’t taken advantage of this ability. Although this actor has decades to choose from, Swan song is constantly showcasing new talent from a beloved actor. Some performers simply work best in support roles. Acting on them in the role of the protagonist would only diminish their best qualities. In contrast, showing Kier in the spotlight has only strengthened his gifts as an actor and not weakened them.
Swan song is at the same time a demonstration of the qualities that everyone knows and loves in Udo Kier, while at the same time giving this legendary character actor the opportunity to showcase his hidden abilities. By subtly balancing respect for Kier’s past work and providing elements that can stay on their own, Swan songs the key performance becomes something quite exceptional.
CONTINUE READING: 7 underrated Adrien Brody performances you may have missed
He also talks about why he said yes to Taylor Sheridan’s Paramount + series without even reading the script.
About the author