Swiss Army Man (2016) – movie review


A dramatic film about friendship and the meaning of life which uses Harry Potter’s corpse as a metaphor… let’s be honest… it was bound to happen…

Swiss Army Man follows Hank (Paul Dano), a man stranded on a desert island who is seconds away from hanging himself when a corpse floats onto the beach, this is the corpse of Manny (Daniel Radcliffe). Hank discovers that this corpse still has a bodily function working (the flatulent function) and that this function allows the corpse to power through the water like a jet-ski.

Hank rides the high-powered body all the way back to mainland, where he decides that he will make sure that Manny will be returned to civilization. Then, either through pure hallucination or fantastic circumstance, Manny begins talking to Hank despite not remembering who he is, where he came from, what love is, etc.

What follows is a beautiful journey between one lonely man and one lovable cadaver as one uses the other as a multi-purpose tool and teaches him the joys of living.

That was a long explanation for an odd film and if what I have revealed makes you scratch your hand in wonderment (how the hell could a movie like that exist?), then let me assure you, Swiss Army Man uses this spectacular concept to create something as beautiful and fun as it is unique.

I’ve stated that Deadpool made me laugh more than any other film in the past few years but no film has put a smile on my face as wide as Swiss Army Man has in a very, very, very long time.

One of Swiss Army Man‘s two most charming qualities would have to be the fact that it isn’t shot and directed like Grown Ups. In a story where flatulence is a key plot component, it would be very easy to direct such a film as if the primary audience were 8 year-olds but Swiss Army Man knows that larger laughs can come from directing such components as if they were dramatic montages.

The other of Swiss Army Man‘s two most charming qualities would have to be its soundtrack, one with a consistent sound – the sound of an Oscar-winning orchestra expressing pure joy – which builds itself to fit every scene and does so perfectly.

swiss army man image

The chemistry between the two brilliantly performed leads is wonderful. The friendship between the desperate man and the happy corpse seems real as much as the characters do and for a film with an unbelievable concept, it seemed very real.

I continue to mention this film’s enthusiasm for on-screen farting and that is because farting is Swiss Army Man‘s symbol -much like The Godfather‘s use of doors or The Night of the Hunter‘s use of darkness- to represent that it is a film of fantastic crudity. See this as a warning, if you are intrigued by the sound of this film, know that it is by no means an intellectual feast. It is intellectually written and the theme is intellectually faded into the picture but the humour is far from intellectual.

Too often have I seen a good film end on a bad note and this is not one of those films. Swiss Army Man ended on a perfect note. At a moment when the entire audience was cackling with tears of joy and the story had reached (almost) a complete resolution, the film throws one more punch of laughter in our face milliseconds before ‘The End’ appears.

Films should be experiences. Every year, there may be one film I see where I think to myself “that was an incredible experience” instead of “that was an incredible film”. This year, so far, that experience was Swiss Army Man.

Hilarious, original, beautiful, great chemistry between the two leads and crude in the best possible way, Swiss Army Man was a film experience which I will not forget.

What did you think of Swiss Army Man? Have you ever farted in a forest? Leave your comment on the side and don’t forget to follow my Instagram page for foreign movie posters.

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