Yup, it’s the farting corpse movie. For those who haven’t heard of Swiss Army Man: This is a movie about a farting corpse.
Directed by Daniels (Dan Kwan, Daniel Scheinert), in addition to starring 2 Dans, the movie’s plot involves a man, Hank, who has been stranded on a deserted island for some time. Played by Paul Dano, Hank has reached the limit of his ability to tolerate isolation and has decided to kill himself. As he is in the process of hanging himself, he notices a body, played by Daniel Radcliffe washed up on the beach. Upon further investigation, he’s dismayed to learn that it is a corpse, rather than a companion. But, to his intrigue, the corpse begins to fart. And boy, does it fart. It farts so much that Hank is able to use the escaping gasses to propel himself and the corpse across the ocean and to the mainland. Yup, this is the opening scene, and the movie doesn’t get less weird, that’s for sure.
Upon arriving on the mainland, Hank discovers that the corpse can not only produce freshwater, but is shocked to find the dead body begins speaking in response to him. This is the beginning of the heart of the film. Hank and the corpse, whose name is Manny, he discovers, begin travelling towards home (the direction indicated by Manny’s rigid, um, well, compass). Along the way, they begin discussing life and the many nuances that come with living.
The movie draws you in with bizarre things like a farting jet-ski corpse, but the real meat is the relationship between Hank and Manny. Manny, having no memory of his life before awakening on the beach, has many questions for Hank regarding what it means to be alive and how human beings are supposed to behave. He wonders about riding the bus and beautiful women and masturbation, and oftentimes Hank finds himself uncomfortable talking about the things that every human does and feels. And I’ve got to say, it was an awkward pleasure to see human nature through this corpse’s eyes.
The two leads carry this entire movie, as one could guess from the premise, and they do not disappoint. Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe are both completely captivating and often hilarious together, as Manny innocently makes Hank extremely uncomfortable while trying to figure out this thing he’s forgotten called “life.” I’ve seen Paul Dano give great performances many times, so it was no surprise that he delivered here. Daniel Radcliffe, on the other hand, has the burden of trying break away from the mantle of Harry Potter, and it’s hard to separate from something like that, no doubt. I watched Daniel in Horns not too long ago and had an inkling that he was going to be just fine, though, and here he confirms that he is, in fact, quite an immense talent. Together, these two have on-screen chemistry that is completely engrossing and utterly enjoyable.
Of course, this movie won’t be for everyone. It is an exceptionally out-there premise and the execution does not betray that strangeness. It’s quite insane, there’s no doubt, and some will be put off by how downright odd the film is. It’s weird, it’s uncomfortable, and it never lets up. People who don’t like that kind of film know who they are and should probably avoid it. But don’t worry, Independence Day: Resurgence is still out, and there’s no surprises there, I assure you.
I, however, loved the film. It was a joy to examine life through the eyes of a man who’s forgotten what it was. I laughed, was totally invested in the leads’ relationship, and greatly enjoyed this crazy celebration of life. I highly recommend this bizarre, exuberant film about a multi-functional farting corpse. Cheers!