Swiss Army Man Film Review
Cast: Paul Dano, Daniel Radcliffe
Director: Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert
Synopsis: A suicidal man (Dano) is all alone on a beach and is about to commit suicide when he sees a deceased man (Radcliffe) on the beach, who happens to have some gassy problems.
Review: Every so often, a film comes along that has a premise that after reading or hearing about it, it just stops you in you tracks in sheer bemusement. You look at it and just think, “Huh???” This is certainly applicable to this film from a pair of directors who call themselves “The Daniels” in what is their first foray into major motion picture film-making. If nothing else this film is certainly a very original concept given the domination of sequels and reboots in Hollywood these days, but sometimes that is not always a good thing.
The story focuses on Hank, a man who has all but given up on life and is about to end it all when he spots the motionless man lying on the beach. This gives Hank a reason to keep going and together the duo go on an adventure in order to get home. Originality in Hollywood, certainly in big blockbusters has become something of a rare thing, so in this respect Swiss Army Man is to be praised, for offering something different to the big screen, like no film has before. Yet there is a difference between originality and just completely fucking weird. This isn’t to say all weird films are bad, but this is not the good kind of weird at all.
You have to wonder at times if a 12 year old boy wrote the script because the humour is very low-brow. Fart jokes were common place when you were in primary school and as adults it can be funny too, but to use it a device in a Hollywood movie is a risky move, and for the most part it doesn’t work. There are some humorous moments and jokes for sure, but it gets to a point where those sorts of jokes stop being funny after the tenth time, and these two very talented actors are ultimately wasted on what is a very weak script. It is trying to have a deeper meaning on life but these messages are negated by the excessive use of the toilet humour, it just simply does not work. The chemistry between the two of them is barely existent, which isn’t a surprise that one of them is meant to be dead! There are attempts at teaching some life lessons in there but it’s negated by the fact that one of the characters is meant to be a dead man, who through no particular explanation comes to life somehow and starts talking!
Dano doesn’t really break any ground with his performance, but Radcliffe does try to give him credit. It is certainly a very different role when compared to The Boy Who Lived, but as The Man Who Farts, not quite as enthralling to watch. The film visually is impressive, there are some nice wide shots on the island and the Daniels helm it well. The soundtrack too is also of a decent quality, but that is of little importance when you’re script is weighed down a very silly way of telling the story, which at just over an hour and a half shouldn’t feel long, but this felt like like it was a lot longer, which is never a good sign. Movies that take risks deserve attention and when done well, deserve merit, but that is not applicable here.