Swiss Army Man
Alone on a tiny deserted island, Hank has given up all hope of ever making it home again. But one day everything changes when a dead body washes ashore, and he soon realizes it may be his last opportunity to escape certain death. Armed with his new “friend” and an unusual bag of tricks, the duo go on an epic adventure to bring Hank back to the woman of his dreams.
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★★★★½ review by Eli Hayes on Letterboxd
subverts the entire notion of "low brow" by inherently transforming what is considered low brow and crude into something high brow and clever, even profound. maybe not my absolute favorite film of the year but quite possibly the most creative and imaginative film of '16. also taps into the subconscious of its protagonist in such a hilarious and fantastical way that I can guarantee you've never seen a character study done even remotely in this fashion. and my god, that score; I love Manchester Orchestra (as well as pretty much any project that has ever involved Andy Hull) and my love for them now extends even further.
★★★★ review by SilentDawn on Letterboxd
Flatulence as connection and survival as twee-independent fantasy, Swiss Army Man is a surrealistic duo journey born out of an inherently funny act, taking the idea of farting and death and portraying it as an ultimate form of release. Gas becomes freeing, gratifying and personal for two souls rather than just one. Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe are brave, impeccable performers, riding the line between melancholic beauty and off-putting creepiness perfectly. Never is the corpse/human relationship broken, taken for granted, or ruined for plot progression. It's genuinely sweet, like a father raising a child in the fraction of the time. The world is new, dewy and innocent. Even sweeter is the Daniels' eye for streams of imagery that fit right into their very particular vision, cutting alienating shots and cuts of various length and extremity into the overall rhythm of the narrative. Its ending is just an extension of this kind of story, and it concludes without latching onto a stupid idea or making one too many turns. It's an inevitable coda to an unforgettable little story. Originality isn't dead.
★★★★½ review by Eli Hayes on Letterboxd
the niche (but extreme) backlash that this got, and still gets, in certain films circles, makes me want to force feed myself swiss cheese and blended up army men until I vomit a soft, milky plastic substance all over the walls of my apartment.
★★★★★ review by Tim League on Letterboxd
One of my favorite films of the year! Soooo good, so funny, so original, so dark. So much more than just a fart joke.
★★★★½ review by Wesley R. Ball on Letterboxd
I know people like to permeate the idea that movie fanatics aren't the most socially equipped people, but I am not a social person in the least. My words melt away when trying to speak with others, and oftimes I find myself only able to really convey my true emotions through writing. It's incredibly frustrating, being unable to find the right words to say at the right moment, and even more aggravating for those around me. I feel like some kind of unintelligible fool- an outcast of some kind who can't even function properly in the real world. Perhaps it's just a buildup over the years of some kind of fear that my own dominating interests and behaviors are so vastly different from everyone else around me that consistent negative or awkward responses from others has placed a barrier between myself and the world at large. Then, every once in a while, an experience like Swiss Army Man comes along and reminds me that I'm not nearly as alone as I thought I was.
Would you believe that a film centered around fart jokes is one of the most existential cinematic experiences of the year? Daniels craft a loving story about being yourself and not being ashamed of who you really are. They may laugh, they may mock you, they might even shun you, but the most important thing to remember is to never stop being true to yourself. When either society or our own perceptions of it force us to change our way, that's when we lose the human essence of who we really are. It doesn't matter if you look funny, or talk weird, or have some odd obsession that others in your immediate social circle find strange- as long as you're being who you really are, you'll feel at your most liberated.
My first viewing of Swiss Army Man felt hampered by the third act, but upon re-examining it, the finale feels closer to me than ever before. It takes all the emotional buildup about social acceptance and throws them out into the real world, and sardonically depicts how society dictates what is really considered "normal" and acceptable. These ideas are conveyed in a hyperbolic manner with consistent farting and erection humor, but the basic principle is no less incredible. Swiss Army Man is a beautiful film. A human experience that is astounding in its inspiration, saturated with its unconventional style of humor.
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