swiss army man 2016
Swiss Army Man [2016] is about a man lost in the woods and the dead body he befriends.

Weekend at Wilson’s. The comparisons are obvious and easy to make. A man lost in the woods befriends a dead body and together they embark on an emotional journey home. While the comparisons are easy to make they aren’t unfair. The comedy stems from the oblivious-to-reality naivete that Radcliffe displays while an attempt is made through Dano’s emotional range to provide some humanity. The dynamic is not new and its conventionality is swept under the rug by the inventiveness of the relationship the two characters develop. This is where the movie ultimately works best. Through their conversations, Radcliffe’s questions, and Dano’s rationalizations we are able to reflect inwardly on the strangeness of our own behaviors and lives. Many staples of social behaviors can be viewed from a distance and seen to be arbitrary and meaningless, but the movie doesn’t take much time in developing this concept. While there is an emotional center focused around a woman, the details are left unclear for the majority of the film and never really explored in a way that’s satisfactory. Instead, the film meanders around the strange relationship building between a man, his dead friend, and the cloud of memories he’s haunted by.

A Work of Fart. Get ready for farts. Lots of farts and other crude, juvenile humor. The film sets the bar rather low from the very beginning and manages to keep it there with more fart jokes, fart talks, fart functions, erect penis jokes, and masturbation jokes. Though it could be argued that they serve a purpose throughout the course of the movie and thus act organically as necessities, it’s easy to lose patience with and hard to find it all as anything but uninspired. Swiss Army Man is a series of great and interesting ideas that are barely scratched and fleshed out instead through flocculants and boners. The start of the film even acknowledges the disruptive behavior during critical moments and while yes it does have a certain lewd humor and intriguing silliness, it doesn’t pair especially well with what could have been a much more fulfilling conversation about social interaction and behavior.

Settle The Score. The soundtrack to the movie is great. It’s fun and is used in a clever way in the film. It’s reminiscent of Kieślowski’s Blue in that the music and the events on screen are working together to create something complimentary. The performances are great and it’s no surprise that Radcliffe steals the show. His willingness to look unflattering and uncomfortable throughout the entire movie is impressive and it pays off. His deadpan delivery and uneven face really created some of the better moments in the film. All the praise that the film can receive is thoroughly undermined by an ending that shows what trailers can’t. It’s a disappointing and confusing mess that does the film no favors. Swiss Army Man is a movie that might have worked better with a few rewrites, a little less freedom, and a stronger emotional backdrop. Instead, the movie relies on the weirdness of its plot and structure to keep the audience in place. While it may work for some, it’s easy to see how and why it wouldn’t for others.

An interesting and quirky film without enough to truly invest into.

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