Ax on 'Flix

In this week's Netflix pick, Axel reviews "Swiss Army Man"

By Axel Marcenaro
On September 27, 2019

Axel Marcenaro, editor-in-chief

“Swiss Army Man,” directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Sheinert, is a 2016 film about a hopeless man stranded on an island who discovers a beached corpse capable of extraordinary abilities...such as farting, storing water, launching projectiles, sparking fire and teaching how to love. This insane film was brought to my attention by a friend whose review of it was limited to the sentence, “Don’t eat while you watch it, I gagged in a few scenes.” That caution considered, I had to watch.

The plot to this film is just plain crazy, and it continuously spirals into further and further madness. However, it is not the movie you may think it is. It is full of ridiculous toilet humor, but it’s also a very deep story of a man learning to love himself. I was surprised to find this strange story to be completely enchanting in a way that most movies wouldn’t dare.

The performances in this film are dazzling as well. Paul Dano (Hank) and Daniel Radcliffe (Manny) take this awkward and silly subject matter and somehow pull the audience in deep enough to forget just how bizarre the film is. This crazy, stranded kid and a multipurpose corpse really form the friendship of a lifetime, which feels so odd to say.

Visually, this film is full of beautiful imagery. From the natural sets of the forest to the trash constructed theater-like scenes in their camps, the film never bored me aesthetically. It also never ceased to surprise me. There are a multitude of special effects in this film that I found, after laughing hysterically at, to be very bravely executed. I would give more details, but I am afraid it would spoil the humor of the film.

My only criticisms come from the end of the film. The resolution was satisfactory, but it didn’t quite tie the knot on the bow the way I wished it had. There are a lot of lessons taught throughout the film that are basically scaled down to one joke. I felt the movie had done something very impressive, which was emotionally draw me into a ridiculous and unrealistic scenario, but then only satisfied me from the humor standpoint by the end.

Overall, this is one of the weirdest, yet most enchanting films I have seen in a long time. I am always delighted when a film does what films were meant to do, which is make the impossible possible. It was a brave undertaking that somehow just worked. If you are willing to drop your expectations for a realistic ride, and just enjoy the absurd journey that “Swiss Army Man” can take you on, I highly recommend this film.

 

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