Swiss Army Man (REVIEW)
Written By Jacob Chimlar
"Original does not mean good" - Bo Burnham.
When I saw the trailers for this film I thought it would make for a rather interesting movie. Definitely unlike most I've seen and on that front it delivered. Directed by Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (The Daniels) stars Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe as Hank and Manny two men lost at sea looking for a way back home.Hank, spots Manny washed up on the beach just as he is about to hang himself. He does, but the rope snaps and he rushes over to Manny. Manny however is dead, but in his death it has given birth to special powers and a loss of memory. This proves to be a excellent set up for a film that can talk about the world and how we live it and the extraordinary adventures we only dream of and no one believes.
I really liked this film. It's funny, touching and sweet but ultimately a little bit of a throw away film. I don't see myself revisiting it but I'm glad to have seen it. It has some moments and the chemistry between Hank and Manny is wonderful. The extra level of zany is a nice break and it is definitely an original idea. Exploring Manny's powers and his questioning of the world leads to some interesting thoughts on the barriers everyone slowly puts up to be polite. There are some moments that had me genuinely touched by the emotion. Tom Hanks and Wilson have nothing on these two. Manny is also a window into Hank and when you are lost, aside from food, all you really want is a friend and Manny provides the ultimate tool not only to survive the harsh environment of the real world but the harsh environment of Hank's mind. Fear, doubt, anger, sadness, all the things people can bottle up inside comes out bit by bit as our heroes trudge through the terrain in search of help.
The directing and cinematography are very stylistic and other worldly at times. The score and singing adds some livelyness and fun, with a little help from John Williams. It creates a sense of wonder that feels genuine. It can drag a bit here and there and the premise can get a bit too silly, especially the fart and dick jokes. As different as they may be, they still were overused. By the end though it is rather touching. It's a film about the journey and even when death is staring you in the face, as long as you have someone to care about you keep pushing forward. It also touches on how real friends aren't made by who is the prettiest or the smartest, even if someone is a rotting corpse who asks a lot questions, they are a person too and everyone deserves to be loved, respected and treated the same as everyone else and if you do that you'll find that your friendship will be rewarded.
This film is not for everyone. It's a bit goofy but it has heart and part of the selling point is that you know you are going to be seeing something a little strange and out of the box, but at it's core it celebrates something true and worth your attention. The ugly, good for nothing, weirdos are just as capable as everyone else and when you find the person who accepts that, there is nothing you would not do for that person.