Saturday, 16 July 2016

Swiss Army Man

Like many who’ve been to see Swiss Army Man - a film by Daniels - I left with a big smile on my face and absolutely no conceivable way to explain why. So reviewing this film could be kind of challenging. At first glance, it seems just like any other farting corpse movie, but it’s oh so much more.

Hank (Paul Dano) has been stuck on a deserted island for so long that he’s finally decided to end it all. Standing on an esky beneath a grotto and with his head in a noose, his death is interrupted by a corpse (Daniel Radcliffe) that washes ashore. A farting corpse. Hank rides the corpse across the ocean, powered by flatulence, to a beach surrounded by wilderness. He’s closer to home but still has a long way to go. Then everything changes when he finds out that the corpse can talk. It also has a name; Manny, and Manny wants to learn about all the things he’s been missing out on as a dead man. What follows is 90 minutes of magical boners, Paul Dano in a wig, Daniel Radcliffe’s arsehole, many many more farts and one of the best films of the year thus far.

It’s difficult to say much more about Swiss Army Man, other than that it’s one of the most unique cinematic experiences in recent memory, and deserves huge credit for managing to do that and still be entertaining and accessible to most people. In an era where films are funded based on commercial viability and how much fan service they can pack in, original content like this is frustratingly difficult to come by.

At its heart, it’s a buddy comedy, and one of the better ones in recent years, but it also has a surprisingly profound message about just being who you want to be, no matter what others think. It’s short but sweet and doesn’t purposefully try to overreach the limits naturally imposed on it by genre. Yet it’s so much more nuanced and entertaining than most other films that rely on this sort of crude humor, thanks to the way that it flips it on its head. The lead performances are both fantastic, and whilst I’m a little disappointed that they didn’t cast an already dead actor, I’m in agreement with many in saying that this is Radcliffe’s best performance to date. Especially when you consider just how challenging the role would have been.

Staying on that train of thought, if you have any experience or knowledge of film-making you’d understand some of the unique challenges involved with certain scenes in Swiss Army Man, and full credit to cinematographer Larkin Seiple, because it looks great and is complimented with some astoundingly well executed editing. It also has a beautifully (here comes that word again) original soundtrack that actually interacts with the film in a really (and here’s the other) unique and interesting way.

It’s a movie that by the filmmaker’s own description tries to make you laugh at the first fart, cry with the last; and in a weird way it kind of achieves that. If I had to nitpick, I think the beginning could give people the wrong impression, and could explain some of the disrespectful walkouts it’s supposedly received, and whilst I’m so glad they didn’t choose the cop-out option that I had feared, the ending could probably have been stronger. But there’s really not a lot to complain about here. To sum it up in one word, majestic.

There’s no other way to put it, I loved Swiss Army Man. It’s sharp, funny, clever and original in every sense of the word. I don’t expect everybody who sees it to love it but if you’re even remotely interested then you should absolutely check it out, otherwise what the hell is the point of trying to make original movies. F*ck the sequels/remakes/reboots, embrace the farting corpse!

1 comment:

  1. losmovies - Really? When watched the great satire "Idiocracy" I never thought that the scene about a film, "ASS" (literally just a shot of a man's butt against a black background farting for 90 minutes straight) will be ever brought to life in any possible variation. So here it is! I was hoping for a good ending that would save this movie but... forget about that! It's really weird people are looking for a deep meaning in it... there is none! The only positive thing I could say about this movie is that you might laugh because of its stupidity. As I said: Some ideas "Idiocracy" predicted have been brought to life. People are paying to watch an ass farting movie. The world is doomed!
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