Swiss Army Man is unique, touching and bat-shit crazy. Few films have a fart-powered jet-ski corpse in the first ten minutes.
On the verge of suicide, one man is taught to live again by his new best friend – a dead guy with extraordinary abilities. Paul Dano (12 Years A Slave) and Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) star as Hank and Manny respectively.
Stranded on a deserted island, Hank is about ready to give up on life when his final exit is interrupted by a corpse washed up on the beach. Befriending his new companion, Hank slowly begins to understand the unexpected and surprising skillset Manny possesses, starting with his profuse flatulence that provides the required propulsion to escape the island as his dead friend becomes a handy jet-ski.
A buddy movie at heart, Swiss Army Man is more than just fart gags. There are dick jokes too, and slapstick aplenty as Manny’s limp body is used as an axe, a machine gun, a water fountain and much more. Yet, surprisingly, none of this comes across as crass within the context of the film.
Through Manny, Hank is able to explore the many insecurities that drove him to seek solitude in the first place. His relationship with his father, the loss of his mother and, most importantly, his unrequited love. The more Hank reveals, the more aware (and vocal) Manny becomes of his own desires for ‘the girl on the bus’.
Writers (and Directors) Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan balance slapstick humour with sincere emotional overtones. Whilst much of the one hour, thirty seven minute run-time are whimsical and fun, the conclusion is an abrupt slap around the face as the true weirdness of the situation is revealed.
Charming, funny, heartfelt and emotional. A truly unique story at a time when remakes and reboots swamp the film industry.