Swiss Army Man, a movie review

A movie review by Lee Sonogan

(2016) 1h37mins/ Adventure, Comedy, Drama


The movie starts off fast and clear. A man, played by the actor Paul Dano, is trapped on an island is about to hang himself, when a dead Daniel Radcliffe washes up onshore. In the opening credits, this man rides the dead corpse on the ocean like a jet ski. With a budget of three million dollars, this movie made 4.7 million at the box office. This movie appeals to people with a certain type of humour and interest.

Not only were both of the men who directed this film named Daniel/Dan, but the lead actor is also named Daniel and his costar’s last name is Dano. Daniel Radcliffe played the character called Manny. A fake version of Manny was made to be used in much of the film, but Daniel Radcliffe insisted on being in every shot. The dummy was only used in a few shots where the stunts were too dangerous for Radcliffe, but Radcliffe would still throw or toss the dummy.

Daniel Radcliffe promoted the movie by touring Los Angeles and New York City with a Manny doll as his companion, attending interviews, fan conventions and even roller coasters next to him. Songs in the movie are all a Capella and are written and recorded by Andy Hull of Manchester Orchestra and Robert McDowell. Andy Hull, who composed the film’s soundtrack, appears at the end as a cameraman.

Paul Dano revealed in an interview that he wanted to be in the movie after hearing a one-sentence synopsis from directors Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert. Specifically, the directors told Dano they wanted to make a movie where “the first fart makes you laugh and the last fart makes you cry,”. Due to its inappropriate humour, particularly its avid fart jokes, many audience members walked out of the theatre when the film was screened at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.

In conclusion, the concept is weird, but it is a good solo acting movie. It is ridiculous how funny the former Harry Potter star is playing a dead guy. There’s solid writing in it to keep you interested in the whole movie. This is a solid adventure movie with funny scenes that make shots at a dead body exciting to watch. On the downside, the special effects and jokes could be seen as over the top. Plus it is very random and ridiculous. I recommend this movie to anyone who likes independent movies and surreal movie ideas.



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