OK….where to start with this one?
Swiss Army Man stars Paul Dano (Little Miss Sunshine, Looper) and Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter, Imperium). It’s written and directed by a debuting pairing known as Daniels, consiting of Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert.
Hank (Dano) is stranded on a deserted island ready to give up on life, until a dead body (Radcliffe) washes up on shore and together the two of them try to get back home. I don’t know what was more confusing, explaining who made the film or explaining the plot.
If you’ve heard about this film then you probably know off it as ‘The farting corpse film’. Yes that is an aspect of this film and it’s every bit weird as it sounds but Swiss Army Man is so much more. I went into this film having no idea what to expect. I had heard some people loved it but also that people walked out on the film 20 minutes in at Cannes. Strangely enough around about the 20 minute mark was when I started to love this film. For all of you out there complaining about remakes, reboots and no originality in Hollywood, I present to you the most original, fresh film in years, Swiss Army Man.
Lets get it out the way first, Daniel Radcliffe plays a corpse and it farts. It sounds stupid but I promise you this film isn’t a 90 minute fart joke… actually it kinda is but there’s more. Swiss Army Man is a heartwarming, whimsical tale, that dives deep into these two characters. You may not think it but this is an intellectual story, that gives you important lesson that everyone can relate to, it’s just told in a strange way. I was really blown away how much this film spoke to me and left me thinking. I saw it yesterday and I felt I needed to sleep on the film and gather my thoughts because this film requires time to process. I can already tell you I will watch this film at least another 3 times before the end of the year, so I can discover everything it offers.
Again, going in I was expecting lowbrow, fart humor (something I’m not a fan of) but I was pleasantly surprised by the fact Swiss Army Man is funny. I hadn’t watched any trailers going in and there are some moments they show in the trailer that had me rolling with laughter. The humor doesn’t really come from flatulence but rather from the two characters interacting with each other. It’s more about two friends, on an adventure and the fun they get up to.
If you’ve been following my Harry Potter reviews, you’ll know I’m a huge fan of Daniel Radcliffe. Since the HP series I’ve wanted to see him break out and become a star outside of that franchise. Do I think this film will do that for him? No but it is his best performance ever. He’s playing a corpse, although there’s more to the character, it’s still a really hard role to take on. The majority of his performance is physical and he makes you care about the character and he conveys emotions whilst playing a CORPSE! I was so impressed with him in this film and it pains me that so little people are going to see it. Paul Dano is also great but that’s almost a given at this point, that guy is one of the best working.
This is Daniels first feature film and the duo has done something really special with this one. It looks beautiful, it’s shot really well but the script is crazy and in other hands, Swiss Army Man would have been atrocious. I think the reason people walked out on this film was because it takes a while to get a grip on the style of film. At first I thought it was going to be some pretentious, “look how we can make farts art” type film but like I said it’s a human story. Once the film kicks in about 20 minutes in, you get the tone and you appreciate the opening more. This could have easily gone the pretentious route or the fart joke route but it ends up some where in the middle and it’s the perfect combination of both.
No spoilers here but the way this film ends is incredible. I like an ambiguous ending. I know it irritates some people but I get half the enjoyment out of films by discussing them. Nothing makes for a better discussion than a film that’s left open ended. Swiss Army Man is a film I need to watch over and over so that I can make my mind up about the ending, so I can look for any clues, personally I love films like that and I loved this film.
I’ve been think about this film for 24 hours now and I can’t find a flaw. For me Swiss Army Man is perfect.
Have you seen Swiss Army Man and what did you think about it?