Sep 30, 2016

[Movies] Swiss Army Man (2016)

When it comes to those more art-style movies that seriously compete at film festivals, you can end up with some crazy stuff. And I definitely had that feeling when Tobie first showed me the trailer for Swiss Army Man.

The premise of the movie seemed pretty ridiculous - you have a guy trying to find his way home and finds a corpse. That corpse proves to be extremely useful for all sorts of functions like as a farting jetski or a seemingly spring-loaded  wood chopper. Why all this was happening or just how deluded the protagonist was for him to imagine these things were left in the full movie to explain.

I was not expecting to watch this movie with the office crew after work, but that's exactly what happened. I was intending to watch the movie together with Tobie but I certainly won't mind watching it again once we find the time for it.

Needless to say, I enjoyed it a lot.

Synopsis: Swiss Army Man is an American comedy drama movie written and directed by Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival 2016.

Hank (Paul Dano) starts out marooned on some island and is about to commit suicide. And just as he's ready to hang himself when at that moment he notices a corpse on the shore. This botches his suicide attempt and when he does recover he makes his way to the body and confirms it's a dead man. Then things get weird as the body releases gas which sounds like some major farts and he ends up riding the fart-powered corpse across the sea, hopefully to safety. In time the corpse, Manny (Daniel Radcliffe) starts talking back and then things get weirder.

What I Liked: The movie is crazy funny when it wants to be and they made the most of the absurdity of Manny as a corpse with so many useful functions. His farts are strong enough to send him flying. He's able to chop trees with his bare hands when you wind him up a bit. He can even spit out debris like bullets when tug him in the right spot. The timing is just done precisely right and the visuals are great.

But the movie is more than a silly black comedy. There's a lot of good character moments here between Hank and Manny and their conversations get pretty deep. And that's really where the meat and potatoes of this movie lies. It goes without saying that a guy who imagines a dead body talking to him and performing some crazy physical feats has to have some serious issues to work through.

What Could Have Been Better: Some of the bits with the complex plot and the back and forth between Hank and Manny can get a little dizzying at times. At times it can be pretty clever and other times it's just a lot of talking with a dying mobile phone and a variety of odd items.

And the ending is definitely an art film ending - meaning it's a little fantastic and somewhat open-ended. It can either be profound or annoying, depending on your perspective.

TL;DR: Swiss Army Man is thoughtful and thought-provoking and a great movie all around. It has a lot of artistic value and remains very entertaining. The movie gets a great 5 crazy things Manny does to help Hank out of a possible 5.


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