Swiss Army Man Review: Don’t Hold It In

Photo Credit:The opening scene of Swiss Army Man has Hank (Paul Dano) abruptly cancelling a suicide attempt on a deserted island when he notices a body, later to be called Manny (Daniel Radcliffe), on the beach. Upon inspecting the body, it starts to convulsively fart, propelling itself through the shallow waters. Hank takes this opportunity to rescue himself, turning the farting corpse into a speed boat that takes him back to the mainland. For most audiences, this will be the most important part of the movie. Do you sit in the theater listening to Daniel Radcliffe fart for 100 minutes, or take your money elsewhere? Ironically, it'll be those sitting in the audience who both aren't afraid to laugh at fart jokes and who are willing to look past them and listen to what this artist has to say that stick around. Swiss Army Man has a lot to offer for anyone who can move past its gimmick. As the film goes on and Manny slowly comes back to life, while revealing more insane uses for his body that come in handy in a survival situation, there's a sweetness to the bond he and Hank share. The former has no memories of his life, openly farting and talking about masturbation, while the latter carries the baggage of a society that wishes to hide these things that every human does. Hank lacks confidence in himself to the point where he's not really being himself anymore, just who the world thinks he should be. Swiss Army Man, therefore, needed to be as strange as it is to hammer this point home. This is a high art indie where farts play an integral role in the lead characters acceptance of himself. It's disappointing, then, when the middle act takes too much time letting things develop. When you start a film with a farting corpse being used as a jet ski, it's okay to not hold the audience's hand through the weirdness to come. Manny's reanimation is obviously inevitable, but the time between carrying Hank across the Pacific Ocean and then doesn't leave much interesting going on onscreen. But even when the middle act drags, the resolution is as hilarious as it is deeply effective. Director blah has made a film that resonates thanks to its touching friendship and original message. It's among the most unique films of the year, probably even the decade. It's a reminder that farts are funny. It's a reminder that, when not playing it safe, greatness can be found. If Manny farting off into the sunset isn't a call to save cinema from repeating itself, I don't know what is. Grade: B+ By Matt Dougherty

The opening scene of Swiss Army Man has Hank (Paul Dano) abruptly canceling a suicide attempt on a deserted island when he notices a body, later to be called Manny (Daniel Radcliffe), on the beach. Upon inspecting the body, it starts to convulsively fart, propelling itself through the shallow waters. Hank takes this opportunity to rescue himself, turning the farting corpse into a speed boat that takes him back to the mainland. For most audiences, this will be the most important part of the movie. Do you sit in the theater listening to Daniel Radcliffe fart for 100 minutes, or take your money elsewhere?

Ironically, it’ll be those sitting in the audience who both aren’t afraid to laugh at fart jokes and who are willing to look past them and listen to what this artist has to say that stick around. Swiss Army Man has a lot to offer for anyone who can move past its gimmick. As the film goes on and Manny slowly comes back to life, while revealing more insane uses for his body that come in handy in a survival situation, there’s a sweetness to the bond he and Hank share. The former has no memories of his life, openly farting and talking about masturbation, while the latter carries the baggage of a society that wishes to hide these things that every human does. Hank lacks confidence in himself to the point where he’s not really being himself anymore, just who the world thinks he should be. Swiss Army Man, therefore, needed to be as strange as it is to hammer this point home. This is a high art indie where farts play an integral role in the lead characters acceptance of himself.

It’s disappointing, then, when the middle act takes too much time letting things develop. When you start a film with a farting corpse being used as a jet ski, it’s okay to not hold the audience’s hand through the weirdness to come. Manny’s reanimation is obviously inevitable, but the time between carrying Hank across the Pacific Ocean and then doesn’t leave much interesting going on onscreen.

But even when the middle act drags, the resolution is as hilarious as it is deeply effective. Directors Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan have made a film that resonates thanks to its touching friendship and original message. It’s among the most unique films of the year, probably even the decade. It’s a reminder that farts are funny. It’s a reminder that, when not playing it safe, greatness can be found. If Manny farting off into the sunset isn’t a call to save cinema from repeating itself, I don’t know what is. Grade: B+

By Matt Dougherty

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