Unburden your mind and forget categorizing movies, finding their deeper themes and meaning, the metaphors and parallels of social interaction and just life in general – such assessments and break-down interpretations will do you no good here with Swiss Army Man. You’ll find yourself hopelessly frustrated trying to find something logical to it, I assure you, and the best way to avoid that is to do as I did, which is to sit back and enjoy the ride.
You may have heard of this movie by now, if anything for it’s utterly absurd plot. This little gem released in theaters earlier this year to, understandably, mixed reviews, and though the trailers definitely peaked my interest, it didn’t stick around long enough in theaters for me to catch it. Now available to stream, rent, purchase or otherwise, I’ve finally been able to watch this movie, and if you’re prepared to watch such a movie with an open mind, then I implore you to do so, because it’ll be one of the most unique, weird, fun and yet sincere and passionate films you’ll see all year, if not ever.
It’s a comedy, sure. There’s some drama in there, too. Add Daniel Radcliffe’s Manny – a farting, multi-purpose corpse – and a suicidal and all but crazy Hank (Paul Dano) who befriends him, now brace yourself for just about as bizarre a ride as you can possibly fathom as these two persons journey together to find their way home from a deserted island… via said farting corpse.
So how does a movie like this work? How does it even get made? For the life of me, I have no idea – I can only imagine what it must’ve been like to read this on paper for the first time – but somehow, it does. I find the idea growing more and more absurd each time I attempt to describe the plot, and “a stranded, suicidal man befriending a farting corpse and using him to find his way home” barely scratches the surface of this oddest of odysseys. It’s simply… inexplicable. A movie like this could’ve easily failed and, were it not for the conviction of Dano and Radcliffe and the all too apparent passion behind the camera from directors Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (credited simply as “Daniels”), it may well have. Such as it is, everything behind this movie is top form; from the set designs, the cinematography, to the acting – Dano as odd and excellent as ever, Radcliffe as far removed from the Harry Potter world as he’ll ever be – to the beautifully uplifting score from Andy Hull and Robert McDowell. It’s hilarious, and it also has some of the best lines of any movie this year, just so that to quote them here would honestly do them a disservice, but you’ll know them when you hear them – suffice it to say, your love for Jurassic Park will only increase.
Trying to explain this film is nearly impossible, but I never thought that a movie surrounding a man and his farting corpse of a friend would be quite so compelling, nor that it could be quite so… well, magical. It certainly won’t be for everyone – I can’t pretend otherwise – for some it’ll be a fart joke too far, but if you can stick it through it’s opening title sequence, then you can stick through it all, and it’s definitely worth seeing at least once. If anything for the mere fact that movies like Swiss Army Man don’t get made everyday, and for this particular movie to have been made and made so well is nothing short of a miracle – it’s a rare opportunity that needs to be taken advantage of. And, as a plus, if you can watch the behind-the-scenes feature, then you’ll see and appreciate just how much fun the cast and crew had behind the project, and your enjoyment of the film will only grow.