Swiss Army Man
Review by Paul Preston
This is straight up one of the weirdest movies I’ve ever seen. Or I should probably say, this movie relishes being weird more than any movie I’ve seen in a long time.
Here’s the story (not kidding): Hank (Paul Dano) is about to commit suicide on the beach of what is presumably a deserted island when a body (Daniel Radcliffe) washes up on shore in front of him. This dead body has enormous flatulence (enough to propel Hank and the corpse high into the sky and across the wavy water like a speedboat). The dead body also gushes gallons of fresh water out of his mouth and his dick is a divining rod.
The dead body becomes a companion of sorts for Hank, who needs some relief from the loneliness and monotony of his seclusion. Eventually, the corpse speaks and becomes like a baby or someone with amnesia who must be taught everything he needs to know about being alive. Swiss Army Man is clearly making a statement about isolation, driven home as layers of Hank’s life get revealed. But this is the most bizarre vessel through which to address despair and lonesomeness I’ve ever seen. The movie seems more excited to do the next weird thing with Radcliffe’s body (use it to chop wood, fire grappling hooks, etc.) than it does to wrap up the story with a convincing or coherent message.
Points for originality, I also love the career of offbeat choices Paul Dano continues to forge. And Radcliffe’s role is harder than it looks. To pull off lifeless, then filter in sparks of animation is tough. Again, I get the messages of Swiss Army Man, I just can’t wrap my heart (let alone my head) around them like I could in an equally trippy film like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
Directed by: Daniels
Release Date: July 1, 2016
Run Time: 97 Minutes