Swiss Army Man (15)
Dir. Dan Kwan, Daniel Scheinert (The Daniels)
Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)
Death eh? Not really a laughing matter but then neither is being stranded on a deserted island, slowly going mad as the years creep past... Anyway, Swiss Army Man finds young Hank (Paul '12 Years A Slave' Dano) lost, lonely and fast losing hope as he finds himself shipwrecked.
Preparing to end it all, he suddenly spots a body (Daniel "Harry Potter' Radcliffe) washed up on the shore. Is Manny - this dead body actually Hank's salvation? Actually yes, using the flatulence of the gassy body to his advantage, Hank 'rides' the body like a jet ski across the sea back to the mainland.
However - Hank now finds himself lost in the wilderness with just Manny who begins to start talking despite his corpse status and together they find new meaning in life (or afterlife or whatever you call it when a dead body becomes sentient but not actually alive, and not in a Walking Dead kind of way!?)...
Writer / Directors Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (the Daniels), have a reputation for wacky and entertaining shorts and music videos. With their big screen debut - Swiss Army Man has delivered a fascinating head trip that combines absurdity, mystery, mental health issues and an insight into the human heart.
Look it's my sanity
Hank's bromance with Manny is kind of similar to Chuck Nolan's with the basketball Wilson in Cast Away - just with a lot more farting. The relational dynamic at the heart of the film holds up a Black Mirror-esque reflection on societal behavior and what is considered weird vs. what is normal.
There is also the Fight Club possibility that the narrative we're being fed might not actually be all that reliable. I certainly wondered if the narrator and Manny going to turn out to be the same person at points but the surreality fused with an odd spirituality make this existential journey one which could be taken as a dead man's boner pointing straight into madness.
Life eh? What's it all about...
Stylishly shot and wickedly funny, Swiss Army Man is an oddball gem which will make you consider life, death and the importance of being yourself... Sure if you're at all squeamish about dead bodies - this isn't the film for you but for those with a sense of adventure and a seeking nature - this is a must see experience.
I'll leave you with some wisdom from Manny himself:
"If my best friend hides his farts from me then what else is he hiding from me, and why does that make me feel so alone?"
Out of a potential 5 you have to go with a Darkmatters:
(4 - Freaky and weird but kinda wonderful too)...
Awesomeness öööö – Unique and mind bending
Laughs ööö – Very funny but very dark
Horror ööö – Icky and grim in places
Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - Strange pathos can be revealing