With a title like “Swiss Army Man” you might have thoughts of a film with many different uses, like the knife it gets its name from. Maybe you have seen the trailer and go in knowing enough that it got your interest, or maybe you have no idea what you are in store for. I have been hearing about this movie for months, mainly because of an element in the story that seemed to capture a lot of people’s attention.
Hank (Paul Dano) is on a dessert island and has given up. At the moment he is about to hang himself he notices a body that has washed up on shore. Having not seen anyone, Hank rushes over only to discover that it is just a body of someone who is not of the living anymore. While inspecting the body the only sign of this person once being alive is a fart that the body releases. At first Hank pays no mind and returns to the ending of his life, only to be distracted from that by the increasing release of gas from the body he just found. Soon Hank changes his mind and he takes the body with him for what ever uses it may bring. Hank soon discovers that the name if the body is Manny (Daniel Radcliffe) and together they have an adventure as Hank tries and finds his way back home.
After getting over the disappointment that this was not a long lost sequel to “Swiss Family Robinson”, even though they share a theme, I was ready for whatever awaited me. Written by Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, the film is an open window into their imagination. Nothing is ordinary, as it at times feels like a trip through a preteen’s picture of a perfect life. For as unappealing as that may sound to some, it will unlock a part of you that will have you along for the ride. This is an adventure that involves a two-man show, as no one has played dead like Radcliff does since Bernie during those weekend trips from the eighties. While Radcliff is D.O.A., but in a good way, Dano plays a part that only he can play, and somehow morphs into Hank. Everything is going good, but somehow the train runs out of steam and leaves you stranded before it arrives at the station. All the momentum that is built up to that moment takes a very good movie and makes you question everything up to the ending. While “Swiss Army Man” does so well in its presentation, it just doesn’t stick it’s landing, and taking it from a sure gold to a bronze finish instead. I did walk out enjoying what I saw, but the ending took it from love to “I just want to be friends”, a place that you can enjoy, but wishing you had more.