Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Swiss Army Man - Film Review

Title: Swiss Army Man
Year: 2016
Director: Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert
Writers: Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert
Cast: Paul Dano, Daniel Radcliffe and Mary Elizabeth Winstead

We're gonna die. That's a thought. Everybody dies. I'm sorry if this makes me weird or you don't understand, but I wish I was dead again. - Manny

Most films are formulaic, not only in the way they are told, but in the way they are filmed. Whenever a film comes along that challenges that, I take my time to check it out. I think it is important to talk about films with something to say. Thus, there is Swiss Army Man. The film tells the story of Hank (Paul Dano), a man stranded in a deserted island who, while trying to commit suicide, finds a corpse on the shore who he eventually calls Manny (Daniel Radcliffe). What happens next, is one of the strangest trips a film has taken me to this year.

One part fun buddy movie, two parts introspective analysis of self-worth, loneliness and depression and ten parts what-in-the-actual-fuck crazy, the film ha a lot more to say than the crass, ridiculous comedy it pretends to be. Besides all the fart and dick jokes, which this film has a plethora of, the film is strangely life-affirming and sweet in the way it portrays its characters. Hank is a man with some serious emotional issues, and while he seems controlling and weird, at first, you end up rooting for them both by the end of the film.

I have to give a lot of credit to directors Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert for taking a chance on a script that is completely over the top and complex and layered. The two of them had just done shorts and television before getting their directorial debut with this film. The film is not only visual, but it also goes deep with its philosophy. The movie makes you question the reality in the film, you never really know what is going on, except that a suicidal man is trying to convince a corpse that life is worth living. Which, when you think about it, is very clever.

Credit also goes to Daniel Radcliffe and Paul Dano, especially Radcliffe. After making Harry Potter, he could have just phoned it in, but he has decided to make a bunch indie films he is passionate about. Radcliffe is more alive, as a dead person, than with most of what other actors with his money and fame have been doing for a while.

Even the music for this film was great and of a high quality.

Finally, this is not a film for everyone. I know some people will just not like it because it is crass and disgusting. But, if you can see further than that, you will probably appreciate what is a wholly original story that is deceptively smart with a good team behind it that deserves your support. if you are tired of sequelitis and remakeatitis, then you should go and check out Swiss Army Man. If nothing else, I'm sure you will not see anything else like it this year.

I will give this film 8 farting corpses out of 10. 

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