Maybe the timing was wrong, but I didn’t enjoy watching the short film “The Rat Catcher”, despite brilliant acting by Ralph Fiennes as a weird old rodent hunter. It just so happens that I’d been reading “The Plague” by Albert Camus a few hours before, and even though I am only mid-way through the gripping novel, it’s all about rats, plague, pestilence and human resilience. Pitted against the world-building of Camus, “The Rat Catcher” felt rather silly and slow. Even though the film is only seventeen minute long and directed by one of my favorite directors – Wes Anderson.
Based on a story by Roald Dahl, the film is rapidly narrated by Richard Ayoade, who plays a journalist and is witness to the rat catcher’s grand plans to rid his village of rats. Rupert Friend also portrays a curious bystander following the rat catcher’s antics. Dev Patel should’ve been in this short film, as he was thoroughly entertaining as the narrator in Wes’ other short “Poison” and overshadowed Richard Ayoade in “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar” too.
The cinematography is playful and unfolds like a stage-play, so there are comical bits in the film where a stage-hand comes into the scene to give or take props from the actors. The brief stop-motion-animation featuring a giant rat was the highlight in this short film. Maybe if “The Rat Catcher” was completely animated, I would’ve found it to be more entertaining, but the peculiar story about a man trying to kill rats didn’t interest me at all.
If the premise sounds amusing to you, stream “The Rat Catcher” on Netflix.
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