Swiss Army Man has balls, brains and brilliance. Not normally adjectives you would associate with a love story between a suicidal, stranded survivor (Paul Dano) and a corpse suffering from chronic flatulence (Daniel Radcliffe), but then again, this is no ordinary film. This surrealist, noir comedy has, in many ways, become the bastard offspring of cinema, especially following controversial, mass walk-outs at the Sundance screening, it is a movie which no one wants to love, but everyone loves to talk about. And if this flick isn’t enough to finally uncouple Radcliffe from the label of ‘the boy who lived’ (instead now ‘the boy who died and farted in time to acapella music’), then nothing ever will. The fact of its divided reception and mixed reviews is possibly one of the highest praises any film can receive as, if movies didn’t every now and then turn a few heads and clench a few buttocks, then there’d be no point in the industry at all.
Since Birdman, the last few years haven’t seen much overlap of indie films and popular blockbuster effects such as CGI, and it’s a joy to once again see this goldmine of un-tapped, magic realist, potentially being tapped like there’s no tomorrow. In many ways, Swiss Army Man is as versatile as Manny’s multi-purpose tool body: it is simultaneously a vulgar comedy, a journey of soul-searching and a disturbing meditation on loneliness that has fingers in almost every genre-pie of cinema. Words can only do so much to describe this film, itself a largely visual feast, which does as much with a bit of mime, bright colours and practical effects in one minute than most well-written scripts hope to achieve in one hour.
You will laugh, you will cry, you will drop your jaw, scratch your head and scramble your brain, but, above all, you won’t be forgetting Swiss Army Man in a hurry.