Swiss Army Man
Swiss Army Man
2016. Directed by Daniel Scheinert & Daniel Kwan
A magical ode to self acceptance, Swiss Army Man is one of the most unique films to be attempted in recent memory.
Hank has abandoned society and is lost on an island. He's given reprieve from his suicidal daze when the corpse of Manny washes up on the island, bringing with him a chorus of flatulence. If you're still with me, then this is most likely a film for you.
Paul Dano as Hank is heartbreaking. He's one of the best actors working today and his range in this film is excellent. You feel everything Hank feels as he wanders a garbage strewn wilderness searching for sanctuary. Daniel Radcliffe delivers the performance of his career as the talking corpse Manny. The film simulates Hank teaching Manny about humanity, but ultimately coaxing himself out of his shell and giving him the courage to embrace his inner weirdness. This is symbolized in 90 minutes of a prolonged fart joke and it works.
Larkin Seiple's cinematography is a wonder. The film presents the wilderness with a Neverland quality, filled with imagination and set pieces built from society's waste that manage to accomplish great feats with virtually nothing. In the end, it's two actors playing with garbage art, and it effortlessly draws you into yourself.
The concept of the "Swiss Army Man" is delicately displayed, as Hank uses Manny's body for a variety of tasks. It's pure story time wonder that elicits gut busting laughs in between teary eyed verbal exchanges of love and self reliance.
Swiss Army Man is a warm, heartfelt story, that ultimately is a journey of the soul. Even in it's clunky finale, the film still clings to the sense of wonder that it's built throughout and presents a conclusion that allows for various interpretations, thus giving the audience the power to make their conclusions to Hank and Manny's Odyssey of the absurd. I ate every minute of this film up.