(I’m on holiday right now celebrating my 30th Birthday! To fill the void whilst I’m away I’m posting some old movie reviews that I wrote for the blog I had before I started Often Off Topic. I’ll be back in early September.)
Oh boy, I’ve been looking forward to Swiss Army Man for so long now, it feels like forever since the trailer was released. I’m surprised I managed to find myself a cinema buddy for this one. When I first saw the trailer I felt a mixture of shock and disgust, but a second viewing really opened my mind to the possibilities.
The easiest way to describe Swiss Army Man is: Paul Dano is lost on an island, ready to end his life out of desperation and loneliness, until he spots Daniel Radcliffe’s flatulent corpse washed up on the beach, and uses him to try and find his way back home. No exaggerations, there. You thought The Lobster was the weirdest movie you’ve ever seen? Think again!
Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe are an absolute delight. I’m not sure just how much acting Radcliffe had to do here, but nonetheless, he really pulled off the dead-guy demeanor. I don’t know enough about movie awards to know Swiss Army Man’s Oscar chances, but Paul Dano would be in my nominations list for sure. This can’t have been an easy role to take on.
If you’ve seen the trailer, you’ll know what to expect, but a few things did shock me whilst I was watching. First and foremost is just how gross this movie was. Flatulence is one thing, we all have it, let’s be honest. I’ve never had it quite so bad that I could propel myself and another person across the ocean, but still, that’s not the worst part. Hank (Dano) uses Manny (Radcliffe) as a water source by quite literally squeezing the liquid out of him. Hurck. The most useful thing Manny can be used for is a compass. How? His boner leads the way. Yep. That’s about it for grossness, but Manny can also shoot things from his mouth and chop wood. Swiss Army Man for sure!
The best part of the movie is the mystery of it all. I started to wonder whether Manny was even real, especially when Hank seemed to talk through his issues with him. Was Hank ever even lost, or had he just ran away? Hank has a fascination with a girl he saw on the bus, and re-enacts scenes with Manny by dressing up and even recreating the bus out of whatever he can find in the woods. It’s really quite incredible. I also thought Manny got more and more lifelike the more Hank started to find the root of his issues. He’s clearly a very troubled man.
Of course, there are also several laugh out loud moments. The boner scene was pretty funny until it got a little too much, and the first moment Manny spoke just to be punched in the face had me crying. Hands down, the best line in the movie is spoken by Hank: “If you don’t know Jurassic Park, you don’t know sh*t.” That line, coupled with the use of the Jurassic Park soundtrack, is nothing but pure genius, and is the real stand out moment of the entire movie.
I just don’t know how to feel about the ending. I mean, I don’t know how I wanted it to end myself, I guess I just couldn’t picture it. The movie itself is like nothing I’ve ever seen before, but the ending reminded me of Safety Not Guaranteed, and I never fully knew how to feel about that ending, either.
Swiss Army Man will be ‘too weird’ for many, but in a world full of superhero movies, sequels and remakes, this is a breath of fresh air for me.