• Guy Jeffries

Swiss Army Man Review


Directors: Dan Kwan, Daniel Scheinert.

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Paul Dano, Mary Elizabeth Winstead.

Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert; or the self-credited "Daniels" give us their long awaited, intriguing and bizarre castaway story of stranded Hank and his beloved dead companion, Manny. Those of you who have seen the trailer, don't try to imagine what this is all about, and yes, the title does suggest that Manny, the talking cadaver has multiple talents which include jet-powered flatulence and a compass-like-erection.

There's no background to this so don't try to question or guess what's happening, just watch the story pan out and see what they get up to. If you ponder too much about Hank losing his grip on reality, you miss all the glorious fun the pair have as they both attempt to get home, which puts them on a path of rediscovery and enlightenment. And whilst there's a lot there for you to digest or try to, there's also a lot left to your own imagination.

Both actors give amazing performances, especially Daniel Radcliffe who plays dead for the entire film. Paul Dano gives the best performance I have ever see him do; but he still plays that awkwardly, squirmy introvert, struggling to deal with everyday issues; granted, shipwrecked isn't so everyday and more to the extreme but you should get what I mean.

The relationship between the two, is of course, unbelievable and surreal yet very engaging. Unsavoury, uncouth, yet both ingenious and disturbing at the same time. I'm not surprised people walked out at the Sundance Festival, however, is it really that bad? I don't think so. Uncomfortable maybe but not enough to make me want to walk out.

The film is superbly made on every level. The editing and cinematography is visionary, with makeup, sets and locations that are perfect, creating a seamlessly wild story. It's undeniably hilarious; it'll be a sad, sad world if no one found air biscuits, bottom burps or trouser coughs funny anymore, and there's no shortage of that here.

Indie rock band, Manchester Orchestra's Andy Hull and Robert McDowell do a score that is simply amazing. There's something incredibly enchanting about their choral harmonics and this soundtrack is a prime example of this with powerful acapellas, uplifting choruses and melodic ballads that play throughout with both Dano and Radcliffe adding their vocals. Anyone a fan of The Housemartins "Caravan of Love"?

Whilst there has been films with dead guys playing a central role like Weekend at Bernies and Men At Work, this is something completely unique, original and like nothing else I've seen before. It's unpredictable, shocking, courageously creative and stunning to watch. Just might be a little too weird for some, and though I wasn't sure to begin with; maybe because of the high expectations and curiosity, I believe this film sneaks in under your skin. It's certainly unforgettable, that's for sure.

I wonder if that's what Manny does, off on his next venture, but doesn't realise it... maybe we're all lost at sea. *shrugs*

Running Time: 8

The Cast: 9

Performance: 9

Direction: 9

Story: 7

Script: 8

Creativity: 10

Soundtrack: 10

Job Description: 7

The Extra Bonus Point: 10 for being totally unique and for the amazing a cappella soundtrack.

87% 9/10

#DanKwan #DanielScheinert #PaulDano #DanielRadcliffe #MaryElizabethWinstead #AndyHull #RobertMcDowell #SwissArmyMan