Swiss Army Man (2016)
Running Time: 97 minutes
Director: Dan Kwan, Daniel Scheinert
Featuring: Paul Dano, Daniel Radcliffe, Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Manny: “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.”
I love it when I see a first time film maker, or in this case, film makers, and their offering is original and as far as I know, never really been done before (and I am not counting “Weekend at Bernie’s” one or two), and on top of that it is at least an auspicious and memorable debut – that is what we have here with the Blu-ray release of the comedy/drama “Swiss Army Man”.
The words “odd” and “quirky” are used to describe just about any movie that falls outside the boundaries of socially acceptable humor or drama but those two words along with “surreal” really do describe this film about a man and a dead body that becomes his best friend.
The film revolves around Hank (Paul Dano), a castaway who’s about to end his misery when a body washes up on the beach in front of him. Gassy, soggy and glassy-eyed, the corpse (Daniel Radcliffe) provides a welcome diversion to Hank, who names him Manny and decides to look after him as if he were alive. From this point the movie shifts to a buddy comedy, as Hank hauls his flatulent friend across all types of terrain, and when Manny begins to talk, his innocently absurd questions about the workings of his body become a way for Hank to escape his own reality.
This may sound like a film with too much cuteness and not enough performance but I can assure you this is not the case. Now in his fifth year of post Potter work, Radcliffe has not shied away from difficult roles as well as appearing in more mainstream films and in this film he shines as a dead body – he really is made for film and it is getting easier to see him in more adult roles and this film suits hom to a tee. Paul Dano is fast becoming an amazing actor and has become a go to for any character roles that need nuance and depth – here, alongside his co-star he shines.
On an initial description this film could sound to independent and knowing but in fact it is quite beautiful and it is topped off with a great soundtrack, which will have you humming long after you leave the movie. The melancholic music of Manchester Orchestra’s Andy Hull and Robert McDowell, make this a soundtrack worth seeking out.
I recommend this highly and is one of the highlights of independent cinema in the past year.
DANIELS & making the score