Free cookie consent management tool by TermsFeed Jump directly to main content

The Crack Magazine


Swan Song

Director: Todd Stephens

Stars: Udo Kier, Ira Hawkins, Jennifer Coolidge, Michael Urie, Tom Bloom, Linda Evans

Home Counties folk may have been out feting some old Queen or other recently, but German acting legend Udo Kier is the real fabulous deal here in this poignant and very funny comic drama.

He is retired hairdresser, Pat Pitsenbarger, now spending his days mildly tormenting the staff at his retirement home. He is roused from his torpor when he receives a visit from a lawyer Mr Shanrock (Bloom) who is acting on behalf of his late client Rita Parker Sloan (Evans) requesting that Pat cuts her hair for the funeral service. Initially Pat turns it down, having, it is revealed, fallen out with his former client some year earlier, but the $25,000 offer proves too much to resist. Springing himself from the home, Pat hitchhikes into town, amusingly with a cardboard ‘free beauty tips’ sign, then traipses the streets in search of the requisite hair products. On his odyssey, he encounters kindly locals, former customers and some old friends.

It meanders a little and occasionally slips into overt sentimentally, but director Stephens imbues the picture with a woozy dreamlike feel as the barrier between Pat’s memories and reality becomes increasingly blurred. Kier, a vision in mint green trouser suit, turns in a disarmingly soulful performance as the indefatigable Pat, alternating between Teutonic camp hauteur and cheekiness as he serves up catty ripostes and offers kind words for strangers.

Swan Song is out 6th June

David Willoughby

Follow David on @DWill_Crackfilm