SWISS ARMY MAN

PrintE-mail Written by Andrew Pollard

As Swiss Army Man opens, we find Hank (Paul Dano) stranded on a desert island and about to kill himself. But wait, what’s that? Why, it’s a corpse (Daniel Radcliffe) washing up on the beach. Deciding to become bestest buds with this undead fella – who he names Manny – within a matter of minutes Hank is riding the farting corpse across the ocean and to a desolate shoreline that he believes will eventually lead him back to civilization.

Yes, Swiss Army Man is certainly a unique beast, and things only continue to edge further into the strange and quirky as the movie progresses. If Manny’s excessive gassy output wasn’t enough, it soon becomes apparent that he has all kinds of powers and uses, such as being used as a modified drinking well or having his erect penis serving as a bizarre compass of sorts. As Manny begins to regain his speech and ability to structure basis sentences, he has no recollection of his former life and so it’s down to Hank to teach his new BFF about life’s basics and even convinces him that he’s in love with a woman called Sarah (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). With Manny serving as the Bill to his Ted, the Animal to his Hawk, the Chewie to his Han, and the Paul to his Barry (Chuckle Brothers represent, yo!), Hank is off on a quest to get back home and to the life he once knew.

It’s safe to say that this is certainly a film likely unlike any you’ve ever seen before, and Swiss Army Man is happy to champion its uniqueness loud and proud, as well it should. A two-headed vehicle for 95% of its run time, the success of a project like this relies largely on keeping the writing on the right side of quirky and also hinges on the performances of its central pairing. Luckily, the script from Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert – who also serve as co-directors – is sharp, engaging, and only increases in cleverness as the story unravels. As for stars Dano and Radcliffe, they are absolutely phenomenal in totally contrasting ways. For Dano, so much of the early going is anchored by his Hank, and the obvious enthusiasm and energy of his performance shows how much he clearly enjoyed marking Swiss Army Man. There’s no doubting that Dano is a hugely talented actor, and his turn here only adds further to his stock and reputation. As for Radcliffe, we’ve never seen a more impressive depiction of a corpse! In all seriousness, the first 20 minutes or so of lifelessness from him are ridiculously disciplined and you’ll struggle to take your eyes of Manny’s dead body. Once this undead soul does indeed get the spring back in his step, though, Radcliffe ups his game and perfectly compliments the energy and erratic nature of Dano’s Hank, again proving that he’s long stepped out of the shadows of you know who.

Swiss Army Man may have slipped under the radar of many during its brief cinema run last year, but we’d urge you to check out this lavish, luscious, charming picture as soon as you possibly can. An imaginative, poignant and utterly unique movie that’s destined to become your new favourite cult classic.

Special Features: Audio commentary / Q&A / Swiss Army Man: Behind the Scenes / Making of Manny featurette / Deleted scenes

SWISS ARMY MAN / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: DANIEL KWAN, DANIEL SCHEINERT / STARRING: PAUL DANO, DANIEL RADCLIFFE, MARY ELIZABETH WINSTEAD, TIMOTHY EULICH, MARIKA CASTEEL / RELEASE DATE: APRIL 10TH

 


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