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Swiss Army Man (2016)


10/10: Don't be fooled by many of the reviews; Swiss Army Man is a rigorous and unflinching portrayal
Tuesday, November 15, 2016

In my view, Swiss Army Man is an unflinching and clinical documentary of the emotional life of a mentally ill, severely repressed adolescent boy named Hank, whose diminished mental capacity has been exacerbated by a repressive and dominant father. The father's violations have induced excessive shame with regard to normal bodily functions (farting, pooping, fantasizing about girls, masturbating); the boy is disturbed by the powerful sexual urges experienced by any teenager, and is painfully shy, lonely and socially isolated. Hank has been laughed at by others; his father has called him retarded and presumably diminished his sense of self in plenty of other ways. His mother appears to be kinder towards him but his father is dominant.Seeking love and kindness, Hank has fixated on a girl on the bus. He knows where she lives, runs away from home, and camps out in the woods by her home. All he has to eat is some junk food and soda...

6/10: confounding, funny, wild, bewildering, disappointing, deep, touching, an experience and a half
Thursday, July 7, 2016

It's not often we get movies like Swiss Army Man. You have to give the "Daniels" that much as filmmakers - they make going to see a movie at a 16-screen multiplex at a mall into an experience that you can't don't have every day. It hasn't been since, I don't know, Under the Skin when I was staggering out of a movie theater wondering what the f*** I just sat through passing by kiosks and pretzel stands with muzak and whiny kids passing me by in the hallways. This is because Swiss Army Man functions like a fever dream concocted by dudes who are equal parts visionary mad-philosophical geniuses and Beavis & Butt-head. In Siskel & Ebert boil-it-down-terms, it's actually a thumbs down for me, but it's the most admirable thumbs down I'd give in a decade.If you watch the trailer it appears as if the premise...

10/10: For everyone who thinks this movie is just fart jokes
Thursday, August 30, 2018

I was compelled to respond to all the 1 star reviews. As someone who actually really dislikes fart jokes, finding them to be lazy writing that only attempts to appeal to the lowest common denominator, I can sympathize with anyone who would be skeptical of this movie at first.But I love this movie. These are not merely fart jokes, but a much deeper and richer metaphor. There's another review on here that goes into some length to describe how Dano's character Hank is an unreliable narrator, a troubled and delusional, suicidal man in the midst of a mental breakdown. While I find that review to be an accurate reading it doesn't fully explore the film's use of metaphor which function on many levels. The first level is the film's plot itself which can be read as everything we are being shown is really happening, or that we are seeing things from Hank's perspective...

8/10: Delirious, Disgusting, But Delighftul
Sunday, November 20, 2016

The title of the iconoclastic epic "Swiss Army Man," co-directed by freshman filmmakers Daniel Scheinert and Dan Kwan, refers to the various uses that their protagonist makes of a corpse in their surrealistic, avant-garde, exercise in buffoonish comedy that teeters on the edge of necrophilia. Imagine crossing the Tom Hanks' survival yarn "Castaway" with Ted Kotcheff's "Weekend at Bernie's," and you'll have a vague idea about the shenanigans of this 97-minute saga that blends art with fart. Basically, a desperate dude stranded on a desert island poised to hang himself, Hank Thompson (Paul Dano of "Cowboys & Aliens"), spots the corpse of a man in a business suit, Manny (Daniel Radcliffe of the "Harry Potter" franchise), wash up on the shore. When he sets off to check out this new arrival, Hank forgets to loosen the noose and almost hangs himself. If you think that these opening moments are bizarre, wait until you watch (if...

2/10: An abomination that fails with all its ambition
Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Swiss Army Man" is a 95-minute full feature film from this year (2016) and it is the first long movie by writers and directors Daniel Scheinert and Dan Kwan. It is basically a two-man show starring Paul Dano ("There Will Be Blood") and Daniel Radcliffe ("Harry Potter"). The former is stranded on an island and the latter plays a corpse who becomes best friends with Dano's character. But it is never clear at all what is going on inside this film. Is it all a delusion from Dano's character? It seems likely as we see not only him interacting with a corpse, but the corpse even moves and replies back to him. Sounds to me as if Dano's character completely lost his mind on the island and we see the direct effects and consequences. So from that perspective (and from others too), it is actually a somewhat realistic film, but all the filmmakers' ambition when...

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