Donnerstag, 27. Oktober 2016

SWISS ARMY MAN - Movie Review

Title: Swiss Army Man
Running Time: 97 min
Directors: Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert
Starring: Paul Dano, Daniel Radcliffe, Mary Elizabeth Winstead

To some people Daniel Radcliffe will forever and always be Harry Potter. A shame, really, because the young man has since evolved as an actor, giving excellent performances in a very diverse list of projects. Drama, Rom-Com, Horror, Thriller, Action-Adventure, Theater, Biopic, you name it. Radcliffe is more than a one-trick pony. And now the man who became famous for playing "the boy who lived" stars in an independent comedy-drama in the role of, well, "the boy who's dead." Yes, the movie at hand revolves around a stranded young man who is about to commit suicide, when he sees a corpse washed ashore. A corpse that does not only turn out out to be able to speak, but also proves useful as a multifunctional tool (there is for example his ability to be used as a vehicle powered by his postmortem flatulence). It is a ludicrous concept, and 'Robinson Crusoe meets a farting carcass' is a plot-summary that might not win everyone over.
"Swiss Army Man" is however a truly special and unique movie. In a good way. In a world where sequels, prequels and reboots are the norm, this film dares to be different. Daniel Radcliffe's Manny has no idea about what life is, and in beautiful irony the only person he has to teach him about it, is a man who was just about to kill himself before they met. The unlikely mentor is played by Paul Dano, who himself has quite an impressive résumé. His body of work reaches from "Little Miss Sunshine" to "There Will Be Blood" to "Looper" and he is especially excellent in giving his characters a very genuine vulnerability. As is the case with his portrayal of Hank, who is shaped by everything he was never allowed or never brave enough to do. Manny on the other hand looks at the world with adorable simplicity and questions conventions that we do not even really think about anymore. The friendship that develops between these two characters is based on a level of impartiality that seems much needed in today' society. While some critics have acused the love story that is woven into the plot of being plain, it is merely a gateway to access the character's deepest wishes, hopes and feelings. As they get more intimit with each other, they allow themselves to be childish, to be crazy and to be creative. And this is exactly what the film makers do as well.
The Daniels (as the directing duo calls itself) have created an endlessly imaginative film. As much as the dialogue sticks with you, it is their visual realisation of the themes and concepts of the film that make it stand out. The cinematography is gorgeous. Their shot compositions are inspiring and informative at the same time, and they often manage to convey feelings and thoughts simply through camera work. The score is no less interesting. Relying almost exclusively on atmospheric accapella sounds, it contributes an additional level of enchantment to a film that is already engaging. And even here, the directors don't miss out on making a joke, having the word 'montage' being sung in the song that plays (you guessed it) during a montage sequence.
As a whole piece, "Swiss Army Man" is an engaging celebration of life and the beauty it holds in the strangest places. Yes, there are sex and fart jokes, but they are the most philosophical fart jokes you will ever see. The film breaks conventions, and is therefore unpredictable until the last minute. It speaks especially to those who have seen themselves as misfits at some point or in some way in their life. To people who hold on to their inner child. In all its oddness, it is incredibly honest. And while some people say the concept is just too bizarre to get behind, I say: If people can get behind the fourth movie about space robots that can shapeshift into humans and toasters, and destroy entire cities that then miraculously appear unharmed in the sequel, then why the hell not this?
So if you were looking for something you haven't seen before, something that thinks outside of the box, something that is bubbling with imagination and refreshingly strange, then search no more: This is the film for you!

For Fans Of: 
Simple Simon [orig.I rymden finns inga känslor] (2010)
Captain Fantastic (2016)
Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)
Weekend at Bernie's (1989)
Seven Psychopaths (2012)
Cast Away (2000)

Click Here To Watch Trailer!

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