The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

Review: Swiss Army Man

To find yourself in life you need to lose yourself and… fart


The first major production by directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, cleverly named the Daniels. From this film we can see that these two young creative directors have a lot to offer and more bizarre films to bring us in the future. Swiss Army Man is a strange, enchanting film where we are brought into the life of a lost man, Hank ( Paul Dano) and his subconscious in the form of a corpse, Manny (Daniel Radcliffe) on their journey home.

The two leads in this film are actors we all know and love. Although for many of us we many not have seen Paul Dano since his iconic role in Little Miss Sunshine where he doesn’t talk much, in comparison to this role where he is basically doing all the talking. We are truly able to appreciate his potential as an actor as he takes the lead. On the other hand we are seeing more and more of Daniel Radcliffe in these obscure roles. Because he earned himself a small fortune with the Harry Potter movies it is clear that he is now able to take on roles that have a small budget, as he is more interested in broadening his acting career then gaining lots of money from doing big Hollywood blockbusters.

The film explores many emotions and it’s hard to know whether you’re meant to laugh or cry at many of the scenes. The beginning of the film shows Hank with nothing left to live for trying to hang himself, when he thinks all hope is lost he sees Manny in the distance. Although this scene should be quiet distressing we are jolted into the humorous side of this film as Manny farts and continues to do so as Hank tries again to kill himself.

Although the film definitely makes you laugh, underneath all the laughter the directors are trying to convey to the spectators some of life’s true meaning. Manny is like a child, unaware of many social standards. Hank tries to teach him how he will have to behave once they make it back to the real world. The fact that farting and masturbation are taboo topics that humans don’t talk to each other about and that the ultimate goal in life is to find somebody to love. The reality however is much different. Manny is a corpse, and because of this it seems that it is actually Hank’s self-conscious teaching himself these life lessons on how to start a fresh when he gets backs to reality.

The scenes through this film are a sensory overload. The beautiful, picturesque scenes as the build their own world is filled with bright colours and epic music that makes the hairs stand up on your neck. As they create their paradise we can see why the film is named Swiss Army Man. Like a swiss army knife, Manny is able to do lots of things, some life-saving, and is something I would definitely take with me on a desert island.

Overall the film is a peculiar masterpiece. Paul and Daniel’s chemistry on screen is a true reflection of what great actors can do (Spoiler alert: their kiss is extremely passionate) and the characters break the boundaries of male friendship. The Daniels have created something unique and special, something I think people should experience if you can handle childish humour. I hope to be seeing much more of the Daniels and their work in the future.