People
love to accuse Hollywood of being out of fresh ideas. Every week
another sequel, prequel or reboot drops into theaters; sometimes to much
acclaim, or in the case of this summers lackluster offering of quality
sequels, with a dud. However, if you’re someone who wants something
entirely original and fresh, look no further than Swiss Army Man. I
can’t even remember the last movie I saw that was almost jarringly
different from the status quo. Directed by ‘The Daniels’ (Daniel Kwan
and Daniel Scheinert) who, until now have only directed shorts and a few
music videos, Swiss Army Man is one of the most exciting directorial
debuts I’ve ever seen. If you had told me earlier this year that one of
my favorite movies of 2016 would be one where Harry Potter plays a
farting corpse, I would have called you insane because you think you’re a
time-traveler, you maniac.

So
if you don’t know what this movie is about, it’s pretty simple. Hank
(Paul Dano) is stranded on an island, on the verge of committing
suicide, when he sees a body wash ashore. That body (we later find is
named Manny, played by Daniel Radcliffe), has grossly unique, and
conveniently useful bodily functions that help keep Hank alive. Ranging
from farting so intensely that Hank can ride Manny like a speedboat to
acting as a faucet to keep Hank hydrated. So yea, this movie isn’t for
everyone. The movie never does what you expect it to, and the Daniels
are keenly aware of cliches and tropes, actively avoiding them at all
costs. The movie is consistently hilarious, with an unapologetic black
sense of humor. Without spoiling anything, Swiss Army Man gets into some
incredibly real, deep issues near the end that I appreciate more and
more as time passes.

For
a movie that seems to exist on the back of a silly gimmick like the
aptly-titled ‘Swiss army man’, it has so much humanity and depth in its
characters. Paul Dano is as great as ever as Hank, who seems like a
normal guy in the beginning but whose facade begins to fade as the movie
goes forward and as we learn more about him. He’s a character who is
defined by his suppression and fear, which makes him a perfect companion
for Manny, who is literally the opposite. Manny doesn’t even understand
what fear is, and his very nature of being a constantly farting corpse
laughs in the face of any suppressed energy he holds in. The whole fart
joke set-up of the movie is there to drive home that very point.
Everyone keeps too much inside. Let it out, because life is short and
kind of meaningless anyway, so what’s the point?

I
want to get into some of the technical aspects of this movie last,
because the directorial work on SAM (as I’ll lazily call it now) is
spectacular. The Daniels have a unique visual style that they no doubt
take from their music video experience. The way they implement the
organic and meta soundtrack (created by members of the amazing
Manchester Orchestra) as well is reminiscent of a music video too. Swiss
Army Man has possibly my favorite montage of any movie I’ve ever seen
too, kick-starting with a song that Hank and Manny begin humming and
morphing into a genius training montage unlike any you’ve ever seen
before. In the end, I think that montage perfectly accentuates the
idiosyncrasies of Swiss Army Man. Walking out of the movie was like
getting out of a cold pool on a hot day. It was a refreshingly original,
hilarious, and uncomfortably human movie that we really need more of
these days. I can’t wait to see what the Daniels come up with next.

that’s
going to wrap up Swiss Army Man. I’d highly recommend this movie to
people looking for something new at the movies, even though I’m sure it
certainly wouldn’t be a hit with everyone. It’s instantly near the top
of my favorites of 2016 so far, and I’m sure it’ll be in the ol’ top 8
later on. I’ve seen quite a few flicks recently that I might write about
if I can overcome laziness, but I’ll definitely be seeing BFG and
writing that one up soon (because Spielberg, obvs). As always, thanks
for checking out the blog!

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