A man alone in the wilderness befriends a corpse…
You have never seen a film like Swiss Army Man, and that’s pretty wonderful.
Now it has to be said upfront that if you’re the sort who gets offended by bodily humour or easily grossed out it probably isn’t the film for you. There’s a puerile streak running through the film which is guaranteed to turn some audience members off.
BUT - I can’t stress enough just how important this element is to the overall feel of the film. It’s deeply tied to the emotional weight of the story in its final third, drawing together themes of what connects us as human beings and the ways we avoid those connections.
Despite the fact that one of the two main characters is a flatulent corpse, Swiss Army Man is a beguiling and beautiful film. That extends from the boldly bizarre images to the use of familiar tunes which are often sung by the cast before being picked up in haunting and evocative ways by the soundtrack.
Director collective Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (credited as DANIELS) have created something singular and silly and strange here, but it’s also finely pitched. The tone is balanced so carefully, managing to be over the top and outrageous without losing sight of the story and themes.
It’s also very funny, thanks to the performances by Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe, who has never been better on film. Their interactions are raw and ribald and also oddly sweet, with moments of real emotion, plenty of laughs and maybe a human truth or two.
Somehow the ending manages to bring these many threads together into a sequence that’s bound to stick in your memory. This is certainly one of the most unique films of the year, and it might also be one of the best.