Title: Swiss Army man
Lead: Paul Dano, Daniel Radcliffe
Rated: Rated R for language and sexual material.
Be yourself. That seems to be the moral in first time feature directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert’s (known professionally as Daniels) film Swiss Army Man. The film stars Paul Dano as the film’s protagonist, Hank and Daniel Radcliffe as the lifeless, flatulent corpse, Manny.
The film begins on Hank in the middle of a suicide attempt after being stranded on a deserted island only to be interrupted by the discovery of a seemingly lifeless corpse. Come to find out, it’s not entirely dead. We then follow Hank and the corpse, Manny on a journey to get home. The film is surreal, bizarre, funny and oddly enough, very touching and deep. Daniels vision is very clear as is their directing style. The film won best directing at the Cannes film festival and it’s very clear why. The film quickly picked up the nickname of “the farting corpse movie” very early in it’s screening life. It was not taken entirely serious and was also subject to many early walkouts. However, when I watched the film I felt sorry for those audience members who walked out because they simply did not give this film a chance.
We live in a world where being different is looked at as weird or bad. If you are different than the rest of the crowd, you are quickly labeled a black sheep or an outsider. Swiss Army Man makes the case that just because you are different you aren’t necessarily weird or wrong, you are unique. It’s a soapbox film for being yourself and embracing your oddity. Daniels film makes its points clear in the first act and throughout the rest of the film up until the end it succeeds completely at clearly communicating what its about. That’s hard to say about films these days where plots and morals are lost in flashy on-screen action. This film not only succeeds in being true to itself, it does so while being so 100% original. I can truly say I’ve never seen a film like this in my entire life and I’m pretty sure that I’ll never see another film like it.
Swiss Army Man is a beautifully shot, acted, directed and scored film (it was scored by Manchester Orchestra). It’s completely original and it says something about being unique in a world where being unique is rare and frowned upon. Basically, it’s a unique film about being unique. It’s also one of the best films I’ve ever seen.
8.5 out of 10