Swiss Army Man (2016) Review

How deeply should I think about a movie who’s star is a farting corpse? If that were really all it was, I wouldn’t be giving it a second thought, but any movie that leaves a theater of people alternatively cackling with raucous laughter and asking themselves what the hell they just watched is worth talking about. I did come away with one thought… From now on, I’m going to fart in front of my closest friends as an expression of love.

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I’m not even sure how a movie like Swiss Army Man is conceived. Though I guess I should expect it from the directing duo, “Daniels” who made the crazy video for the song, “Turn Down For What.” I don’t know how they came up with the idea, but I’m glad that they did. I’m glad that films like this are being made. As sophomoric as much of it was, it was strange and unique and beautiful.

Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe turned in a couple of funny and very moving performances. This film has so much ambition for a bleak, body oriented comedy. The focus is the absurdity of the human condition. We’re led along by our gross bodies, yet we spend all our lives denying and concealing their urges. The film frequently achieves a kind of weird poetry. A shot of a pallid, waxy Radcliffe laying in a bed of clover with a turd next to his head is especially beautiful. It sounds completely absurd and unappealing as I write it here, but that is what this film does so well. What sounds disgusting or juvenile actually plays out very differently on screen.

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Underneath all of the bodily function humor, we have a very familiar story about a fairly sad protagonist who overcomes his fears and issues with the help of an eccentric and fearless friend. Filled with great pop culture references, “If you don’t know Jurassic Park, you don’t know…” and catchy music that will have you humming along, this is an emotional film that left me with a huge smile beaming across my face. I’m not sure how long it will linger in my memory or how it will stand the test of time, but I had a great time watching it. I think the ending will leave you questioning what you just saw while you laugh uncontrollably. Be sure to see it with people. This is a film that like a fart should be shared with the ones you love.

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