It was the instant Hank (Paul Dano) started riding a fart-powered Manny (Daniel Radcliffe) across the ocean that I knew I truly fell in love with Swiss Army Man. It is easily the weirdest and most wonderful film I have ever seen, but still, its randomness is what made it a film I could easily watch again and again. Wonderful performances and a unique soundtrack, I would highly recommend Swiss Army Man to any seasoned film-goer.
I am completely unsurprised by the floods of negative reviews and comments I have read about Swiss Army Man on the internet; I think way too many people were suckered into IMDb’s genre classification of ‘comedy’. It was far from a cheap gross comedy about corpses and bodily functions, for me, it was a much deeper film about the human condition and the inner sadness of our lives on Earth. Too many people seem to have wrongly discounted the film due to a lack of clarity, and perhaps think they are being high-brow critics for sneering at what they think to be endless attempts at fart humour.
It seems as though many viewers missed the point of Hank’s insanity. Portrayed fantastically by Paul Dano, Hank’s loneliness and damaged upbringing have made him into a complete madman. As far as we can understand, all of his interactions or adventures with Manny could be completely in his head, we can’t take any of the film’s content seriously. It was the motives and reasonings behind Hank’s mental creations that gave this film the most heart. I truly felt for Paul Dano’s character not only by being stranded on an island but from the rest of society. As for Daniel Radcliffe, it could arguably be his best performance, his part of a dead corpse surprisingly gave the film its life. The combination of these two brilliant actors truly gave Swiss Army Man its wonderfully absurd, yet satisfying, outcome.
One absolute positive aspect of Swiss Army Man, which no one can deny, is its extreme originality and uniqueness. In a summer of films convoluted with sequels and remakes, wasn’t it just sheer fun to experience some pure originality? The ‘anything can happen’ vibe gave the overall watch such a refreshing feeling that you just don’t get from a generic modern film. There was no generic story, generic action sequence or generic male lead; it was subversively original to the point where it gets borderline weird, but you’ll find no complaints about that from me!
In some ways, watching Swiss Army Man gave me time to consider the types of film I enjoy. I watch too many films where I can second guess the ending or know a character’s motive from the very start. Yet when it came to deciphering the bizarre and the weird of this film, I was delighted to be continually stumped. I don’t think anyone will ever truly understand Swiss Army Man, but those who let go of trying to understand everything and simply revel in the madness are the ones that will get the most out of this film.
Here’s a quick look at the trailer for those of you who have not seen any of Swiss Army Man and want a small taster:
What did you think of Swiss Army Man? Are you a lover, or a hater? Let me know in the comments what you thought of the film itself, and of my review!