Tag Archives: Gondry

Swiss Army Man

7 Jul

Flatulence abounds in Swiss Army Man, a surreal curio straight out of Sundance. I shit you not.

Daniel Radcliffe, the fresh-faced young lad who brought Harry Potter to life, plays a dead body named Manny who washes ashore and ass burps his way through the film, spouting more gas than lines — and yes, he talks. How’s that, you might ask. It’s a qualified answer and one of the many enigmatic facets and WTFs of Swiss Army Man that along with a limitless stale rush of methane, drives the film piquantly along.

To its benefit, the film revels in its weird comic absurdity. It’s never as existential or nihilistic as something more flatlined and high-brow like Waiting for Godot, but it does feel freely mined from the cranium of Michael Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) had he been locked up in solitary with nothing but a stack of Mad magazines to pass the day. At its palpable core,Swiss Army Man is a buddy film and a touching one at that without ever submerging into the maudlin, though its arc could have been better tempered given the myriad of Sundance incubator labs it went through — it won the festival’s directing award this year after all.

We begin with a nearly unrecognizable Paul Dano, bearded and grossly weathered by the sun and sea, as Hank, a man who we assume has been stranded on an island for a long enough period of time to let the destitute of loneliness consume him to the point of wanting to off himself. Standing on an ice chest, noose around his neck, Hank’s about to do the deed when Manny arrives in the briny surf. The sight of another fellow human gives Hank pause, but his attempts to revive Manny just brings around gurgling gushes of gas. The next thing you know, Hank’s jet boarding across the ocean atop Manny, driven by sphincter propulsion.  Continue reading