Swan Song Review-Mahershala Ali delivers a knockout performance in an emotionally vulnerable set-up
Swan Song Cast: Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris, Awkwafina, Glenn Close
Swan Song Director: Benjamin Cleary
Streaming Platform: Apple TV+
Swan Song Stars: 4/5
Swan Song Review: What if you had the option to live a life after the death of your loved ones? What if family members don’t be able to feel your pain for your loss? These existential questions hang over the character arc of our character, Cameron Tucker (Mahershala Ali) as portrayed in Oscar Ben Cleary’s first feature film director’s work, Swan Song. Moving past the uber-sleek tech and the significance of being a loving family member at all cost, including your own, will Swan Song leave you with a lot of emotion after the credits are over? Let’s discover!
The film Swan Song, we’re transported to a futuristic future, with self-driving vehicles and the like however, modern medicine isn’t the same degree as the technology has. Cameron suffers from a serious illness that threatens his life and is not able to talk to his beloved wife Poppy ( Naomie Harris), who has recently suffered the loss of her twin sister Andre (Nyasha Theatri). Instead, he approaches the biotech firm Arra Labs under the leadership of Dr. Scott (Glenn Close) and Dalton (Adam Beach) whom he is offered an offer he’s reluctantly unable to turn down: to create the carbon copy of himself, keeping every memory intact and continue to live his life after Cameron’s passing. The problem is that Cameron cannot reveal the results of his research to anyone and including Poppy or their adorable young daughter (Dax Rey). Although initially apprehensive about the thought of a doppelganger invading their lives, the onset of a seizure takes him back to tune with Jack his clone.
The remainder of Swan Song sees Cameron being thrown into a moral dilemmas, and even rubbing heads with Jack as he seeks comfort with Dr. Scott’s former patient, Kate (Awkwafina) and she had also been through the procedure. Based on the way the Dr. Scott’s Arra Labs provides them with an idyllic escape to spend their final days, Cameron’s internal anxiety is in stark contrast to the serene surroundings. We also get a dual-edged perspective by Jack who is an infant excited by the possibilities of his new life. While Cameron as well as Jack are in fact identical however, their experience in life craft-fully differentiates them. For the reason, Mahershala Ali deserves all the praise.
Ali is a standout with a stunning performance in Swan Song with sincere confidence, worthy of his recent Golden Globe nomination and never offers the option to be remorseful for the character even though it is an obvious breach of her trust by refusing to confide in her. Mahershala is able to play both of these complex characters, with only minor physical distinctions due to the deteriorating health of Cameron, with a plethora of ease, and never once is you able to discern between the two characters. This is particularly evident when Cameron experiences a change of heart and instantly decides to find the safety of his family. He then confronts Jack about the same. However, Naomie is a fiery character who acts as the calm to Cameron’s storm. This is evident in lighter scenes like the adorable couple’s meeting-cute on an accident on a train with the chocolate candy bar.
In the case of Awkwafina or Glenn Close The first manages to deliver appropriate laughter in order to soothe Cameron’s grieving, Glenn gracefully adds layers to Dr. Scott between stern and caring for Cameron. A group of reliable actors allows Benjamin to do his job with ease because he’s also the creator for Swan Song and right from the beginning you get a sense of the way that Cleary’s personal experience with constant loss has affected the screenplay in a way that is exponentially.
There’s the trudging between, when moments of comfort are mingled with too many significant glances and an amazing perfect family picture despite small crumbs of Poppy staying away from her family in order to mourn her close-knit sibling’s passing. It is a trope that is not well-known, however, this is a testament to the fact that Swan Song is very much an individualistic tale of Cameron’s personal life with the important individuals surrounding him providing an extensive analysis of his innermost thoughts. Perhaps, her handling of grief could be an important factor in determining to the reason Cameron chooses to take this drastic decision?
ASSISTANTLY READ: EXCLUSIVE: Mahershala Ali and Naomie Harris discuss candidly the lessons that Swan Song taught them about managing grief
Contrasting with the more dark story, there’s a sharp edge to the surroundings of Cameron In Swan Song; whether it’s his or Poppy’s cozy, woody-toned family home or the sparkling lab particularly the dull and intrusive color scheme. Cinematographer Masanobu Takayanagi as well as production design Annie Beauchamp to thank for their brilliant collaboration. In less than 112 minutes the editor Nathan Nugent intricately weaves Cameron’s confused mind while we’re bouncing between his current and vivid memories. It’s perfectly balanced by Annie Beauchamp’s eerie music. It’s almost as if we’re seeing the insides of Cameron’s composite mind.
In all times, Swan Song appears less like a novel as it is more a future reality . To this, I’d saythat you will not be able to avoid being swept up in ideas that make you think. What would you imagine the future of your ” Swan Song” to be, if you were given the chance to create your own ending? !