Swiss Army Man: The One and Only

Swiss Army Man (2016)

Director – Daniel Scheinert, Dan Kwan

Writers – Daniel Scheinert, Dan Kwan

Starring – Daniel Radcliffe, Paul Dano

Rating – PG – 13

Genre –Comedy, Drama, Adventure

Metascore – 61/100

Rotten Tomatoes – 75%

 

Well, I can near-confidently say that I will never see another movie like this.  Swiss Army Man is everything I didn’t expect.  It blew every preconceived notion I had out of the water and the audacity that the Daniel’s had with this movie was powerful.  This movie takes an inconceivable plot and weaves it into a fart fueled, heartwarming story that says a lot about friendship. The story is simple; a stranded man, Hank (Paul Dano), comes across a beached corpse, Manny (Daniel Radcliffe), who has an endless supply of flatulence. Manny is quickly brought to life by Hank’s friendship and more of his powers are revealed in this weird acid-trip, dream-quest spotlighting adult loneliness. It begins with a bang, and by bang I mean by Hank riding Manny across the ocean like a human, fart-propelled jet ski, and it doesn’t let up for a single second.

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It is stupid, yet emotionally moving.  As Manny becomes “more alive” he asks more questions about life and relationships. His questions are alike to a child asking “why, why, why?” forcing Hank to question his way of living. Manny’s questions are pointed and are ones that everyone is too scared to ask (What is “weird”? Why are people mean?). This creates a fantastical, genuine friendship unlike any other; more compelling than even Luke and Han’s. Dano and Radcliffe are immersed in a fart cloud of emotion and give an unhinged performance. A practical effects dummy was made for Radcliffe but he enjoyed playing the corpse so much that almost every shot is of him in person, playing a dead person.

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One of my favorite poster designs of the year.

.Surprisingly, the movie is paced in a frenzy even though it seems to just be about a guy and corpse wandering through a forest; it’s full of color and powerful imagery, it looks like a Bon Iver music video. The balance of this movie is also incredible. It is laughable and emotional but it knows when to blend the two and when to devote itself to one. The soundtrack is performed acapella by Dano and Radcliffe and their dynamic chemistry transfers seamlessly to tune the movie (think Jurassic Park and Cotton Eye Joe).

Lack of replayability and accessibility bring this movie down. The farts have perfect chemical balance and impeccable timing but I fear it’s a one time gimmick.  Some will not enjoy the pure and unhaltered delirium that this movie spins. It’s juvenile humor is tuned for a certain audience but if you allow it to work it’s fart magic on you, it will be worth your time.

The directors dare you to empathize and care for these earnest characters amongst erections and fart jokes. Somehow the whoopee cushion works and I believe it to be a poetically juvenile story that reveals the weirdness inside us all. This movie packs an incredible punch and has more purpose than simple fart jokes. Instead it masterfully uses farts to fuel a compelling and wonderfully imaginative story of friendship that I will never forget.

Author: Jesse Ingram

499 rating : 7.8 / 10

 

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