Monday, July 4, 2016

Swiss Army Man

Movie Name: Swiss Army Man
Year of Release: 2016
Director: The Daniels
Stars: Paul Dano, Daniel Radcliffe, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Richard Gross, Timothy Eulich, Antonia Ribero, Marika Casteel, Andy Hull, Aaron Marshall
Genre: Adventure, Comedy
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6

"Swiss Army Man" is the debut feature for the team of directors Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, both of whom operate under the moniker "The Daniels". Their first feature, which debuted earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival, follows the story of Hank, a young man stranded on an island. Hank is about to commit suicide when he sees a corpse ashore. Upon further investigation, Hank discovers that the farting corpse, who he eventually names Manny, is a suitable companion who can help him through the isolation he had been feeling and even a good aid in order to get back to civilization, in particularly to Sarah, the girl he has always idolized.
The feature debut of The Daniels is filled with interesting ideas, and simultaneously a huge heart, which makes the film something that people can gravitate towards. There are very strong influences from the work from french filmmaker Michel Gondry (particularly in the visual inventiveness), and the screenplay at times also feels very influenced by Charlie Kaufman, sadly without much of its depth and heart-wrenching sincerity. It's a film that is arresting mostly due to the commitment of its main actors, who truly embrace their characters and the challenge they find themselves in, allowing for some terrifically humorous situations, sadly the final act just doesn't feel quite as well tied up (it feels as if though the final act just doesn't match the tone that was so successfully captured before). It is nonetheless a film with a lot to admire, with two great performances from Paul Dano and Daneil Radcliffe, with a fantastic cinematography from Larkin Seiple. A very good start from this interesting duo.