Swiss Army Man is most likely going to be the best movie you’ll see all year in which Paul Dano rides Daniel Radcliffe’s corpse as its farts propel them across the ocean. Don’t let the absurd premise repel you; this is a genuinely great film that, underneath the coat of body humor and slapstick, is actually pretty poignant and wonderful.
Seemingly stranded on a island, a destitute Paul Dano prepares to hang himself, when he notices a corpse on the beach, which gives him second thoughts. He ends up taking the corpse with him as a form of company. It’s soon revealed that the corpse is in fact sentient (?) and they continue their adventure back to civilization, which the corpse’s erection pointing them in the right direction.
But the absurdist, juvenile humor is only the outer coating of this film. Dano, in a humorous fashion, has to reteach Radcliffe’s corpse what it means to be human, and what it is to live. Some of these exchanges, especially one where Dano’s character creates a setup of a bus to simulate riding on it for Radcliffe and meeting a girl. It’s silly, but it’s also surprisingly warm.
The absolutely wonderful cinematography and soundtrack help bolster the melancholy atmosphere. There are some beautiful scenes and shots in this film. One in which Radcliffe rescues Dano from drowning in a hilarious slow motion sequence. And the soundtrack from the Manchester Orchestra which is often just silly ramblings, is still so pretty and atmospheric I can see it being one of the best of the year.
Despite being occasionally self indulgent (carrying on a little too far with the introspective dialogue) Swiss Army Man, surprisingly really works. Swiss Army Man is even one of my favorite movies of the year so far. It should be a testament to the originality of films today that, even if your idea is stupid and bizarre, Just go with it. The result could be great.