Paul Dano plays Hank, a man ready to commit suicide on a deserted island; that is, until he meets a corpse he kind of names Manny (Daniel Radcliffe) washed ashore on the same island. It turns out that this corpse is about to change his luck when the former uses the latter as a way of escape. There is no other way that I can describe ‘Swiss Army Man’ other than the fact that this is a very unusual, yet at times touching movie about what it takes to find happiness and enjoying every moment until it’s gone forever. That is the secret ingredient that makes this a kind of great movie. To be honest, you won’t believe that I’m saying this about a movie which is also about farting and corpse erections (Stiff Stiffies, in other words.)
I’m going to be honest with you all here. This movie is baffling all the way from its beginning where you feel as if nothing amazing is going to happen, all the way to its somewhat chuckle-worthy ending. This movie also has a very small cast; besides Dano and Radcliffe, there’s Mary Elizabeth Winstead, (who isn’t in the movie much besides screenshots) who plays a woman who Hank is desperately trying to see. I have this feeling that ‘Swiss Army Man’ definitely has the workings of a two-man play, which can be seen off-Broadway. The film doesn’t need a huge cast, since it takes place in the woods where the characters tread on the way to Hank’s destination.
There are moments that could have been entertaining, but when you think of it, are secretly clever. There’s discussions of sex, life, and finding yourself that could also make this a very thought-provoking and emotional movie. Hank is depressed and feels that nobody loves him; he is also shy and afraid of speaking to people, especially Winstead’s character. While Manny has no memory of how he got on the island, let alone, his life itself. So it’s up to the two characters to actually find happiness in each other. What ‘Swiss Army Man’ lacks in the laugh-out-loud department, it gains in thoughtfulness; while this may also not be a remarkable film, a film like this may not come as often and deserves at least props for being unique.