Swan Song review – Udo Kier dons the pantsuit as the haughty hairdresser | Movies

Jhe price of admission, as they say, is justified by the sight of legendary German actor Udo Kier in a dynasty-era lime green pantsuit, heels, sunglasses, a slightly tilted hat and a More cigarette smoking between his lips. In another one of his wildly unpredictable career diversions, Kier now vacillates on a razor’s edge between throwaway camp humor and sentimental sadness, playing Pat Pitsenbarger, a character based on a real-life figure in director Todd Stephens’ hometown. in Ohio.

Pat is a retired hairdresser, now in a nursing home; he’s recovering from a stroke, still alert, though secretly addicted to his cigarettes and an obsessive habit of folding paper napkins into the kind of little square shape that went under the highball glasses in the bars he once hung out at . He’s visited by a haughty lawyer, Mr. Shanrock (Tom Bloom), and Pat’s nurse can’t believe her patient would want to see this man: “Should I tell him you’re dead?” Shanrock tells Pat that his late client Mrs. Rita Parker Sloan (Linda Evans) – the Republican society hostess whose hair was done by Pat every Friday afternoon – left instructions in her will that Pat should do the hair. and make up her corpse before she is buried. So Pat must gather up her flamboyant attire ensemble and scour the town for this latest job, her masterpiece, and make peace with her memories of Rita’s snobbery and homophobia – and also with her hairstyling rival Dee Dee. Dale (Jennifer Coolidge), who stole her most famous client.

There’s a lot of laughs here and Kier doesn’t have to work very hard to get them: he shows tremendous haughtiness in the way Pat asks for various items unreachable at the local convenience store, then like a Vegas high roller, while other customers eagerly line up behind him, ask for various lottery scratch cards: “Hit me!” Like Werner Herzog, Kier’s German accent lends deadpan drollery to everything he says, but there’s a gooey soft center to his film, and Kier pulls it off pretty well, his face becoming almost childlike. Another intriguing character in the Udo Kier gallery.

Swan Song is released in theaters on June 10.

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