By: Movie Snurb (Two Beers) –
Hank (Paul Dano) is stranded on a deserted island and about to hang himself, when he spots a dead body (Daniel Radcliffe). Hank decides to go see if the body is alive and discovers he has supernatural powers. Hank believes he mumbles the word Manny and decides that’s his name. Manny’s farts can power him like a jet ski on the water, he can spew clean water from his mouth, he can launch projectiles from his mouth, he’s spring-loaded to chop wood, and his erections act like a compass. All the while Manny seems to becoming more and more alive. Hank decides to use Manny to help Hank get home.
This was hands down one of the most unique and original films I’ve ever seen. Most times when a film is original it’s not completely “original” and it’s a similar story to at least one we’ve seen before. Like a coming of age tale- there have been original takes on that type of story, but there are tons of coming of age stories that are the same. Also, I’ve seen very unique films, but usually they are just really weird and also don’t make sense. Don’t get me wrong, Swiss Army Man was really weird, but it totally works.
A big reason this film works is because of the two actors that carry the film. Paul Dano does awkward indie films very well, but can also do almost anything it seems like. Paul Dano has a very wide range of films in his filmography and he is fantastic in all of them. I believe Paul Dano is one of the most underrated actors working today. Paul Dano wasn’t the only actor that was great in this film, though, as Daniel Radcliffe (as Manny) does great as a dead body who slowly comes to life and begins to learn all about living. Radcliffe’s comedic timing is brilliant as Dano tries to teach him about life. Manny is like a child asking Dano question after question just as a child does and it’s really funny watching Dano explain why you can’t fart in public and have to hide your erection and hear Radcliffe say, “That sounds sad, why would you want to live in a world where you have to hide your farts?” The whole film could come off childish but it works in large part due to Dano and Radcliffe.
The actors do so well not only because they are great actors but also because of the writing. The Daniels, as they are credited in the film, wrote a genuinely original, unique, hilarious, and memorable film. The Daniels have some real talent and they get a real chance to show it with this film. If I were a betting man I’d bet that not all of the films The Daniels write and direct will work; however, the ones that do will be good, memorable films.
I really enjoyed this film, but I did have a problem with the ending. I honestly am not sure if it just went right over my head or if the Daniels were just unsure of how to end the film. I felt that the film’s ending took a sharp tonal shift from dark comedy to depressing and it seemed too jarring. Not only the ending, but the theme of the film. I’m not sure whether or not I was supposed to learn a life lesson or just sit back and enjoy an oddball film. It’s quite possible that the meaning is open for interpretation, and I’m not the biggest fan of those kind of films. Either way I still enjoyed Swiss Army Man.
Swiss Army Man is as weird as it looks; however, it’s a very hilarious and memorable film. I would definitely recommend everyone see this film at least once in their life if nothing else to at least say you’ve seen it.
Swiss Army Man (2016) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: every time someone farts.
Take a Drink: every time Manny insults Hank but doesn’t realize it.
Do a Shot: every time one of Manny’s abilities is discovered.
Do a Shot: for poor Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Finish your Drink: if you think you understood the ending.