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Swiss Army Man Film Review

Updated on October 20, 2017

Swiss Army Man Movie Poster


Swiss Army Man is a 2016 film that was so incredibly different that it made a lot of buzz in the Indie movie scene. It was directed by Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan, who got it to an R rating. The two characters that take most of the screen time are Hank, played by Paul Dano, and Manny, played by Daniel Radcliffe. Mary Elizabeth Winstead makes her presence felt as Sarah.


The film is a dark comedy of a man named Hank (Paul Dano) that is stranded on an island and is about to hang himself, when he sees another person (Daniel Radcliffe) wash up on shore. Hank then goes to the body and discovers that the person is dead, and his abnormal bodily functions can help him get off the island. That means he uses the corpse’s farts to propel himself off the island. The true film begins after this when Hank and the corpse, which he names Manny, wash up on a different shore.


Swiss Army Man is definitely different. The opening scene shows that big time, from a failed suicide attempt, to the use of a dead man’s farts as a motor boat proves that. If you have made it this far into the film, then you will at least appreciate the rest of it. The film is really attempting to make a statement about how society is strange because it suppresses the most normal of bodily functions. The corpse begins to regain life advancing from just farting to vomiting up freshwater for Hank. Later, Manny gains normal functions of the body. The film then explores the beauty of life and learning new lessons because of Manny not really knowing anything and Hank has to teach him pretty much everything. The beauty of life in general is shown in how Hank was on the brink of death, but how his relationship with a corpse, that may or may not be a sign of Hank going crazy, advances and figuratively and literally saves his life. The film almost demonizes how people take things for granted. It suggests that people really need to enjoy the little moments. There is a scene in the film where Hank is showing Manny what it’s like to ride the bus and Manny makes a very memorable moment by noting how he would love to be able to ride the bus every day. This is just showing how people take things like this for granted. Generally, people hate having to ride the bus every day because it is so monotonous and just not fun. There is beauty in the little miracles though, such as how the bus almost always starts when the key is cranked, or how there may be a person that rides the bus with you that you really want to get to know. The worst-case scenario is simply a denial, so go for it. Swiss Army Man is really making a statement about how people should buy into life instead of just watching it go by. It really calls out those that are asocial and then complain about how nothing goes right. It says to quit fearing failure because you will miss the opportunities that show themselves.

Final Thoughts

As a whole, the film was extremely artsy, but in a comical way. It does a good job in engaging the viewer and making statements. Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe put on an incredible performance, but it is simply weird. I would recommend seeing it because of the statement it makes, but it takes some suspension of disbelief. Due to how strange it is, it does get a deduction from what would be a great film. It is just too exclusive of a movie to appeal to all audiences.



Movie Trailer

© 2017 Josh Whitworth


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