Is there a possibility of liking a movie but having no clue what it was about or what it meant? Well, I just had one of those experiences with Swiss Army Man. I sorta understood but it was like watching someone trip on some shrooms or watching a dreamier and sadder version of Fear and loathing in Las Vegas.
But where I felt trapped in the unknown, I also felt liberated by the absolute innovativeness and uniqueness of the story. It was like a bunch of kids narrating a story of a methane-gas-emitting corpse who could be used as a jet-ski, fire-starter, and a rocket-launcher. Such imagination – and that is why I recommend watching this movie, to sit through it even if you don’t get what it is about. You might just get it in the end.
Swiss Army Man tells the story of Hank (Paul Dano) and Manny (Daniel Radcliffe) – both of whom are stranded on this deserted island Cast Away style. The only difference is that Hank is alive and Manny is dead. Hank knows Manny is a corpse but for reasons he voices out (hallucinations, feeling of being alone), we see Manny coming to life by emitting gas. Sounds strange? Well, we move on to stranger things when Hank and Manny start having full conversations and Hank tell Manny about this girl he liked by enacting scenes from his own memory of his lady-love.
Swiss Army Man tells the story of a person who is so alone that he is willing to make a corpse a friend. Through this bond, they battle odds, a bear and coincidentally reach the house of the lady love. Hank and Manny are heartbroken when they find out that she is married with a child. Little does Manny know that it is not him who was in love, but Hank.
The end is quite fresh again – I definitely didn’t expect it. I wondered if what I just felt (above) was all a dream because you tend to believe that Manny is indeed just a corpse and nothing else. But is it not so?
I laughed at the incredible creativity of the plot, scratched my head at the story, cried because of the friendship that is shown and really thought about what I had just seen in the last 100 minutes or so. Isn’t that just the best emotions that a movie can bring out in an audience?
The music is just awesome – almost inspiring for a weird comedy. The writer/director duo Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, collectively known as “the Daniels” has really a done a splendid job of making a quirky subject like farting into a unique story. I would agree with most people and say this is probably Daniel Radcliffe’s best work, though he portrays a talking/farting corpse. Paul Deno is stunning, I can feel his pain and frustration of being different, of being one in a kind. There is a lesson also in all of this madness – to teach our kids to keep their personalities intact, to not let what others feel change what is different in them.
There is a lesson also in all of this madness – to teach our kids to keep their personalities intact, to not let what others feel change what is different in them. In this world where bullies are everywhere and the majority of the population is trying to turn you into a herd, there is definitely a conscious effort required to keep our children safe from mass propaganda.
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