There are a handful of people at my work who read my reviews, and one of them asked if I was planning on seeing Swiss Army Man. The answer was yes, but whenever people who read my stuff ask me about specific movies, I tend to put them on the top of my list.
Also, it doesn’t hurt that I live in an area where indie films have a disastrously short life span in the theatre (I’m still kicking myself for not making Green Room a priority).
So I saw Swiss Army Man today, and it was extraordinarily phenomenal. When I first started watching the movie, and Daniel Radcliffe’s corpse started farting a bunch, I was not sure that I would be sold on the premise. But not only was I quickly sold on the premise later, but this is by far my favorite film of 2016. There is not currently a film that comes close.
The movie starts off with an extraordinarily simple premise: a man is stuck on an island and finds a dead body before he decides to commit suicide. He quickly learns that this dead body has odd abilities that he can use to escape the island. But is it all really happening or is it in his head?
This is honestly the most I want to say about the plot. This is one of those movies that is better to come into with as little knowledge as possible (frankly, I think that should be the philosophy for all movies, but some more so than others).
For the most part, the only two actors in the entire movie are Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe. The two are fantastic in their roles thanks not only to their talent but the script and direction. Radcliffe was rather impressive considering he pretty much plays a dead man the entire movie.
The movie is also rather hysterical. This is the first movie in 2016 that I actually started crying laughing. But the movie is more than just funny; there were moments in the movie that made extremely sad, and there were moments were I felt quite uncomfortable. And honestly, that’s one of the primary jobs of a movie: to make you feel something. Most movies are either so terrible or so generic that I cannot feel anything even if I tried. It’s a shame that it takes an indie movie to make me feel like I’m actually watching a new movie with a new concept instead of recycled plot lines.
The camerawork was also well done, and the soundtrack was exceedingly interesting and unique.
There were multiple times when Dano’s character would start humming a certain beat, and then he would hum another one, and then another, and they all just started playing at the same time. I don’t think I have ever seen that done before. This was not only pleasant and unique, but it was also relevant to the character himself.
This movie also has a lot to say about… well, honestly just see the movie yourself. I really do not feel like going into detail about the plot at all.
Now I can tell this movie is probably not going to be for everyone. Apart from the surreal elements, there were a lot of elements about Swiss Army Man that are not only weird, but a bit out there. There were even a few concepts that I disagreed with, but having things in a movie that do not align with may way of thinking is not an immediate detractor provided they do so in a way that makes me think. And honestly, this movie made me think quite a bit (without changing my mind). That being said, I know there are particular elements that will turn certain viewers off. If you think you’d be one of those viewers, you can personally ask me, and I’ll let you know, but I don’t feel like writing them in the general review.
This film is by far the best theatrical experience I have had in 2016 (so far). The movie was different, it was hilarious, it was sad and depressing, it was thought provoking, and it was exceptionally well done. Anyone who has read all of my reviews on my site knows that I give this rating out almost never, but I truly think that Swiss Army Man deserves it.
10 out of 10
Edit: After sitting on the rating, and seeing the movie a couple more times, I changed the rating.
8 out of 10