Review: 'Swiss Army Man' is a fun, bizarre trip

Posted Tuesday, October 4, 2016 at 4:37 PM Central
Last updated Tuesday, October 4, 2016 at 4:38 PM Central

by John Couture

Alright, you made it. I saved the best for last because this was a film that I was eagerly looking forward to seeing. Ever since the first trailer, my mouth was on the floor in wonderment at the sheer bizarre audacity of a film that champions a farting corpse as a man's literal salvation.

But, I'm getting way ahead of myself. Allow me to start at the beginning. I should warn you right now that there might be some light spoilers ahead, but to be honest, if you've seen the trailer, then you pretty much know what you're going to get with this film. I don't believe that anything I could save would possibly damper your enjoyment (or hatred) of this film.

Let's face it, this is a film that is going to be quite divisive with its audience. I've done a quick online search and while the positive reviews outnumber the negative ones at a clip of about two to one, there doesn't seem to be any middle ground. You either really love this film or really hate it.

I tend to be in the really loved it camp.

The film opens up on Paul Dano who is doing his best Tom Hanks impersonation from Cast Away. A man is quite literally at the end of his rope. Enter Daniel Radcliffe as the inanimate object Wilson. Suddenly, Paul Dano's Hank has a reason to live and that reason is to bring Daniel Radcliffe's Manny back from the dead.

Yes, there's plenty of flatulence and a robotic erection that they milk for as many laughs as possible, but the real story is Hank's complete loneliness in a world full of people that basically don't even notice him. Even his family is unable to accept that he exists on any meaningful level.

It's that reality that Hanks finds himself and from which this psychological adventure sets off. In a film that is basically the love child of Cast Away and Weekend at Bernie's, the true expertise is in Dano and Radcliffe's chemistry, which is even more difficult given that one of the parties is no longer breathing.

There is very little dialog, but the scarcity of words places an importance on every single one that culminates in the last three words spoken in the film by Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Her utterance encapsulates the entire journey for us as the viewer and really adds a wrinkle to a film that continues to surprise us long after the credits stop rolling.

I have long held that a true test of a good film is its ability to linger in your consciousness and to inspire conversation. Swiss Army Man has both of these qualities in droves and is easily one of the best films that I have seen this year.