Swiss Army Man SPOILER-FREE Review


Swiss Army Man is a movie that stood out to me right from the first trailer. It was weird and different, and looked like something I had never seen before. I really like Paul Dano as an actor. He's great as serious and deranged characters in movies like 12 Years a Slave and Prisoners, so it was going to be very interesting to see him in this kind of film. And Daniel Radcliffe has really been branching out since his Harry Potter days, proving himself to be a very capable actor. So I was very interested in seeing Swiss Army Man. It had a lot of potential to be a funny and entertaining film that's just strange, and is perfectly okay with being that. So I walked in with high expectations. And for the most part, it met them. This film really encapsulates the essence of independent film, with great off-beat humor, nontraditional story choices and fantastic performances.

Stranded alone on a deserted island, Hank (Dano) is getting ready to hang himself. But right before he's about to die, he sees the body of a dead man washed on shore. Hank foils his suicide attempt in order to check on the body, which turns out to be Manny (Radcliffe), a farting dead corpse whom Hank befriends in an attempt to escape his isolation.


This film is really good, and very well done. It's directed by Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, who are first time directors. For a directorial debut, Swiss Army Man is technically incredible. They really do an excellent job directing. The performances are also fantastic. Dano delivers on his comedic timing and charisma, and really leads the film. But Radcliffe steals the spotlight, giving a heartfelt performance as his character discovers the meaning and purpose of life. He gives a fantastic physical performance, making it believable throughout the entire film that he is actually dead, which is hard to explain unless you've seen the film. He does a lot of physical work, which enhances his performance. He probably won't be, but I think Radcliffe is deserving of being nominated for an Oscar for his work on this film. But, like I said, it probably won't happen. 

The writing for this film is equally great. It was witty and it was funny, in very unconventional ways. It didn't rely on slapstick humor, and it wasn't your typical Seth Rogen R-rated humor either. It was more situational and physical humor, which was refreshing. The dialogue was well-written, and the characters were very much three-dimensional and fleshed out. For a film that focuses on only two characters, the writers did a great job keeping the pace going and not letting the film run out of steam or feel tiring. It keeps itself going.


I didn't have many problems with the film. However, it didn't quite reach the emotional depths I wanted it to. I definitely did feel for the relationship between Hank and Manny, but it didn't quite hit the chord I wanted it to. It also gets a little bit confusing in the end. It could have ended fifteen minutes earlier, and it would have had a much more impacting and satisfying conclusion. The extra fifteen minutes takes it more into the weird angle, and it loses focus on this brotherhood relationship. It also leaves a lot to be interpreted, which can be a good thing, but in this case it's just confusing. Had they ended the film a little bit earlier, I think the movie would have been a lot leaner and would have had a lot more punch to it. 

Overall, Swiss Army Man is a refreshing film that reminds audiences of the power of independent film. It allows for the filmmakers to be more creative and to tell unconventional stories, which is exactly what this film is. For first time directors, Dan Kwan and Daniel Schinert do an incredible job, and the performances are equally as great. Paul Dano proves himself to be more than a type-cast actor, and leads the film excellently. But Daniel Radcliffe absolutely steals the show, turning in an award-worthy performance. The script is well-written, and witty in its refreshing kind of humor. However, the film does last a little too long, and could have been ended earlier. This ending leaves a few too many loose ends, and takes away from the movie's strict focus. But in the end, Swiss Army Man is a fun film that will be remembered for its powerhouse and entertaining performances. 

4.0/5


What do you think? Have you seen Swiss Army Man? Did you like it? Leave your (spoiler-free) thoughts in the comments section below. 

Written by: Nate 
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