Swiss Army Man Review

Director(s): Dan Kwan & Daniel Scheinert

Starring: Paul Dano, Daniel Radcliffe, Mary Elizabeth Winstead 

The Overview

A hopeless man stranded on a deserted island befriends a dead body and together they go on a surreal journey to get home. (Source: IMDb

The Good

God bless IMDb in their attempts to make this movie sound like the most normal thing in the world. I rather prefer the See You Next Wednesday podcast’s succinct description; the Farting Boner Corpse movie. 

You may have heard many things about the contents of this movie, and I can assure you all of them are true! If I was writing the shortest review possible, I would sum this film up by calling it “unique”. Never has a film embodied that word quite like Swiss Army Man. It is bold in its bizarreness, wild in its weirdness, and as open about these things as someone who farts in a lift and proudly announces “I DID THAT!”

Find me another movie that has Paul Dano riding Daniel Radcliffe’s farting corpse like a jet ski. I’ll wait…

The imagery in this movie is certainly unforgettable, and it will undoubtedly stick with you afterwards. It’s one of those movies that demands to be spoken about afterwards regardless of your feelings towards it, and any film which prompts this kind of response has to be commended. 

The two central performances from Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe are absolutely superb, and were easily the best thing about the film for me. Dano has a unrelentingly crazed energy that is completely infections and utterly mesmerising. Radcliffe brings more personality and humanity to a corpse than I ever thought possible, and his incredible physicality is worth mentioning alone; he’s tossed about and contorted into all sorts of positions imaginable, but yet he attacks this role with such depth and passion that he never risks becoming a mere prop. Radcliffe continues to make varied and diverse  acting choices post-Harry Potter and this is another string to add to an impressive bow.  

The soundtrack, which admittedly I had listened to prior to seeing this film, is truly wonderful. Unashamedly epic, memorable, and catchy, it’s one you can easily listen to in isolation of the film and still enjoy. 

The Bad

This films puts me in a difficult quandry. On the one hand I applaud anyone who dares to make a film this dazzlingly unique, and I don’t doubt it’ll find an audience based on that alone. On the other hand, it is a film which feels like it has no other reason to exist other than “oh well you’ve never seen something like this before”, and it never feels bothered to give you another reason for existing. I desperately wanted this movie to have something big and important to say but it never quite reached that moment. 

It’s a film that seems like it throws as many puzzle pieces into the air as possible, and doesn’t bother to assemble them into something coherent when they tumble to the floor, because that would be the “obvious” thing to do. It’s incredibly frustrating, and again did little to convince me why it needed to exist. 

It’s bold and daring in its imagery and subject matter, but it feels ponderous and pretentious in its execution. It could’ve made some interesting points but it was too preoccupied in its own self-importance to even consider that this was an option.  

The Verdict 
I saw this movie and you should too. This was a difficult verdict to decide on, and I will still be categorising this movie under ‘The Bad’ section of my reviews, but this film is so out-there, so individual, and so brazen in its uniqueness, that I genuinely do think it’s one you should see. I absolutely cannot guarantee that you’ll love this movie, nor can I guarantee you’ll hate it, but I can guarantee you will never have seen a film like this, and for that reason alone, it’s worth a watch. 

Agree with everything I’ve said, or am I a totally misguided idiot who has got it all wrong? Let me know in the comments below! 

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4 comments

  1. I just saw this yesterday as well haha! One of the most unique films I’ve ever seen. I do think there’s a bigger message but it seems quite shaky (in the midst of writing a review for the movie 🙂 ) This one had me laughing and was really enjoyable, prob the main gripe I have was with the very last part. Nice review Sarah!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you 🙂 yeah I was disappointed there wasn’t anything clearer message wise. I think it’s all well and good something being incredibly unique but if it doesn’t have the reason behind it, then what is its point!

      Like

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