Sundance 2016 Review: Swiss Army Man
With their feature film debut, Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (credited as “Daniels”) have crafted what is perhaps the most polarizing film at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. It will forever be known as the farting corpse movie, but Swiss Army Man is in fact much more.
Paul Dano stars as Hank, a man stranded in the wilderness on the brink of suicide. As he is preparing to end his life, Hank spots something on the shore line; the corpse of Manny (Daniel Radcliffe). Manny may be dead, but this doesn’t stop he from expelling magical farts. Eventually Manny begins to talk and Hank is given a restored faith in life when he must share the magic of the world with his new friend.
While the plot of the film largely revolves around farts, Swiss Army Man seems to stand against the countless films that use farts and other forms of crudeness for cheap laughs. The Daniels miraculously adds depth to fart humour, the first fart sure to make the audience laugh, the final fart sure to make them cry. The film is surprisingly tender and heartfelt, which ultimately allows it to live on past its first few gags. Swiss Army Man is a bromantic love story between two men on each on the brink of death. One dead but close to living, one living but feeling dead. It really should not work, but the creativity of the Daniels gives the film a dreamlike essence that allows it to remain entirely unique throughout. Swiss Army Man is silly of course, but there’s enough depth to Daniel Radcliffe’s farts that allows it to rise above the competition.