“The farting corpse movie” is what Swiss Army Man has become known because of its use of flatulence to add humor to the movie. However, that is simply an unfair classification because this movie is way more than that.
Hank (Paul Dano) has been stranded on an island and ready to end his life from the loneliness and the despair when he spotted a body on the beach. Before you know it, the dead body is passing gas, and Hank is riding the dead body like a jet ski.
The thing is… that is not the weirdest thing that happened in this movie. When the dead body starts talking to Hank, this film really takes off. We find out that the dead body’s name is Manny (Daniel Radcliffe) and he does not remember anything. But Hank starts using Manny in all kinds of ways that is unexpected in an effort to get home.
And I laughed throughout the entire movie.
Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe are brilliant. Radcliffe especially, since he was playing a dead body. The physical demands of the performance was off the charts and Radcliffe was just astounding.
The dialogue was riveting and brilliant. The relationship between Hank and Manny developed more than most movie relationships. Manny is so innocent and Hank tries to explain everything to him and the results are amazing. You care more about this dead body than you do about anyone from The Purge: Election Day.
Yes, there is farting in this movie, but it takes the bodily function and makes it an irreplaceable aspect of the story. It is not just fart jokes. The use of the farts helped move the story along and even became an important character development. I never thought I would say that but the farting was integral to the plot.
If anyone wanted to complain that this was the same as “Weekend at Bernie’s” then they simply did not watch it. Swiss Army Man is both unbelievably funny and remarkably poignant. This movie is about life and the way we live it. It is perhaps the most creative and original concept I have ever seen. I was never sure exactly what was happening and I really wanted to understand. The film does such a fantastic job of creating doubt about Manny. Is this magic? Is this all a delusion? Is he not really dead? I thought all these at some point. Swiss Army Man is a transcendent experience.
I was just a little uncertain about the ending of the film, not sure if that is how I wanted it to end, but that was a minor point. I have to say that I did love how the film used the character of Sarah (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), which I won’t spoil, but it went against all of the preconceived notions, and most films would not have gone that direction. It was just one more example of how this film broke the mold.
Swiss Army Man is funny and wonderful. One of the best movies of the year.