Only the most hardened Wes Anderson sceptic could fail to be charmed by the director’s latest. The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar is his second Roald Dahl adaptation (after Fantastic Mr Fox) and, at just 37 minutes’ running time, it’s a densely detailed journey with an intricate Russian doll story structure. The baton is passed from narrator to narrator, starting with Ralph Fiennes as Dahl in his writing shed; then, among others, to Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role of Henry Sugar, an affluent playboy and inveterate gambler who develops the ability to see through objects. It’s a skill he hopes to use to cheat at cards, but he discovers something rather more profound instead.
This is an archetypal Anderson film: mannered, fussy, obsessively designed – normally irksome traits, but in this alchemic instance it’s an utterly delightful combination.