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article imageReview: ‘Swiss Army Man’ is the solution to run-of-the-mill comedies Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Jun 27, 2016 in Entertainment
‘Swiss Army Man’ is a bizarre yet humorous movie that centres on the friendship of a desperate man and a gaseous corpse.
Narratives that are wholly conflicting are a rarity. To know something was enjoyable, but not whether you really liked it or not is a strange and challenging position in which to find oneself. It requires further consideration and analysis, constantly running the risk of over-thinking the film and ruining the possibility of deciding in its favour. But in the case of Swiss Army Man, it almost demands audiences examine its multiple layers and like it because of the many things it offers.
Hank (Paul Dano) has given up on life and the prospect of ever being rescued. But at the last moment, something catches his eye: he sees a man lying on the beach. Unfortunately his hopes are once again dashed when he realizes the man is dead. Lucky for Hank, Manny (Daniel Radcliffe) is no ordinary corpse and he may be Hank’s best chance at survival. The more Hank and Manny bond, the less of a stiff Manny becomes and the more unusual powers he appears to gain. However, as they get closer to civilization the threats to their friendship also increase.
In short, this is the story of a man and a farting corpse. It’s difficult to create a film that’s not silly when that’s the premise, but this script proves it doesn’t have to be silly all the time. There is a surprising amount of substance to the movie as it addresses issues of loneliness, social stigmas and mental illness in the context of this bizarre camaraderie. While trying to help Manny remember his former life, Hank is forced to reveal a lot about himself including his strained relationship with his parents and a sensitive side he deeply desires to share with someone else.
One of the key elements that makes this film so provocative is the question of how much of it is real. It’s simple dismiss the idea of a talking corpse as impossible or imaginary, but the picture consistently includes moments that force audiences to question the reality of a scene. In several instances, it’s difficult to conceive of how Hank could have accomplished some of the pair’s greater feats if Manny wasn’t special in some way. The conclusion in particular creates a lot of questions that are both fun and confusing.
Save for the film’s ending, Dano and Radcliffe are the only people in the entire picture. Both are young, talented actors that have no problem carrying this strange tale. Although Dano has been known to be drawn to odd and/or difficult roles, many still associate Radcliffe with Harry Potter and will be driven out of their comfort zones by his incredibly unconventional part in this movie.
In addition to sharing amusing clips and animations via their social media networks, the website allows users to interact with Manny in a fun and awkward manner that replicates Hank’s initial dealings with the corpse.

Need a friend who can take you places? Consult your Swiss Army Manual. Manny's your guy. #SwissArmyMan

A video posted by Swiss Army Man (@swissarmyman) on

Directors: Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert
Starring: Paul Dano, Daniel Radcliffe and Mary Elizabeth Winstead
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