Better than it sounds. So this is about a young man (Paul Dano) who is shipwrecked by himself on an island. He is literally at the end of the rope when a corpse (Daniel Radcliffe) washes up on shore. By finding impractical uses for the dead body, he is able to start making the journey back to civilization. Now I knew about the premise to this, and Swiss Army Man’s reputation proceeds itself; if you have heard about this movie before, you probably know it as the farting corpse movie. That infamy may force you into forming a few assumptions about this film, and while that plot item does certainly play a large part to the actual story of this, it is so much more than just that.
You’re just going to have to get past it, as this movie opens with Dano using Radcliffe’s flatulence to propel him like a jet ski.
Now I don’t think I’ve seen all that many survival comedies before, so there is a novelty to this. I love how this isn’t afraid to get weird, although you may have already guessed that about a story where a dead body is a main character. Not only does this corpse speak with and interact with our lead character, he’s also got personality as well. It’s almost like he is an adult toddler: curious, and constantly asking the incessant question “why” to obvious everyday tasks. He’s also got no filter or measure of what is appropriate and what’s not, so this leads to many a humorous conversation. Eventually, though, you will be forced to ask yourself the following question: how much of this is taking place in our protagonist’s head and how much is occurring in real life?
I still don’t know if I can definitively answer that question.
This is a two man show, and both Dano and Radcliffe breathe a ton of life into this strange little story. It gets silly to be sure, as there is cross-dressing, farting and erection compasses, but it’s also oddly artistic as well. At its core it has got this sad little indie story to tell, and it ends up having a whole lot of heart. Swiss Army Man is well edited and put together, and it is a unique overall package that I can recommend to most.
Swiss Army Man (2016) ****
– Critic for Hire