TITLE: SWISS ARMY MAN
DIRECTOR: Dan Kwan, Daniel Scheinert
WRITER: Dan Kwan, Daniel Scheinert
CAST: Paul Dano, Daniel Radcliffe, Mary Elizabeth Winstead
RUNNING TIME: 97 min
RATED: R (Language, Sexual References)
SPECIAL FEATURES: Deleted Scenes (x5); Q&A with Filmmakers [1hr]; Behind the Scenes Featurette[16min]; Making of Manny Featurette[3min]; Audio Commentary
Available October 4th on Blu Ray and DVD
Hank (Paul Dano, There Will Be Blood) has been stuck on an island off the coast of the Pacific Ocean for an unknown amount of time. Bored to death, he decides to take his own life by hanging himself in a cave. As he’s ready to step off his garbage pile, he notices the body of a man that has washed ashore. The body is expelling an impressive amount of gas, to which Hank rides like a jet ski to freedom. After awaking on shore, Hank feels compelled to take the body with him as he makes the blind trek towards civilization – either by obligation to his dead savior, or because he’s really lonely. He sings and talks to the body and then suddenly it answers back. “Manny” (Daniel Radcliffe, Harry Potter franchise) is an inquisitive persona to which Hank feels the need to educate about the world. Hank discovers that Manny’s body is very useful in his means to survive – a water dispenser, pellet gun, log splitter, razor, compass (via an erection), oxygen tank, and psychotherapist. Sarah (Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Scott Pilgrim vs The World) is the unknown object of Hank and Manny’s affection and her photo on Hank’s cell phone (at less than 10%!) is driving them to find the way home and also muster the courage to actually speak to her. The audience is left to wonder if Manny is really alive, or if Hank is some fart-phobic-stalker-crazy guy.
When I first hear of this film, I thought the plot surrounding a farting corpse was just insane, however curiosity got the better of me and I agreed to review; even when I heard that people actually walked out of the screening. I was skeptical, although intrigued. I was pleasantly surprised. It’s funny, it’s sad, it’ll make you question why is it so mortifying to fart in public.
The special features on the Blu-Ray are over abundant, which could be good or bad. I tend to feel that the more special features offered, the producers are either confident in their product, or they made a shit product and they feel guilty about taking our money. If you like the movie, I say buy it. The Q& A was a bit boring, but watching the filmmakers and sound guys get enthusiastic about their efforts is adorable. The Making of Manny’s 3 minute featurette on the process of making the corpse dummies is impressive. The Behind the Scenes featurette is a lovely family scrapbook of the filmmakers, their crew and the cast. The deleted scenes unfortunately did not include scenes that were promised/hyped in the commentary, but then again the commentary was silly and fun.
I’ll come out and say it: Daniel Radcliffe and Paul Dano both deserve Oscar nods for their performances, no matter how absurd the material. It’s silly, but it’s also a pseudo-serious drama. Despite the 97 minute fart joke, there is an odd brilliance to Swiss Army Man. The film feels like a sort of love letter to introverts. It’s an endearing story of friendship, acceptance, and letting go of hang-ups and self-loathing.
TOTAL RATING: A
Reviewed by: JM Willis