Farting in an elevator is wrong on so many levels: A Review of Swiss Army Man

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By: Brett Slaughenhaupt – Staff Writer

Hi, my name is Brett Slaughenhaupt and I cried during a movie that has an extended fart joke played throughout the entirety of a 97-minute film. While that is true, to boil down a film that has so much heart and intelligence behind its body gags would be a complete injustice. This film looks into the psyche of a man alone, both physically and mentally, and how that works to affect the way he experiences to the world around him.

Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe are very nearly the only two players on the screen during the running time. Their confidence and great chemistry is more than enough to keep the audiences interested. They are also what keeps this film’s unique concept from crashing in on itself. Both actors are very quickly becoming two of the most interesting men working in Hollywood. Their willingness to break down their personas and do just about anything the role asks for is quite respectable, and that really shows through their performances.

That isn’t to say they are the only highlights. Written and directed by the Daniels (Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert) with much veracity, they create an alternate world where corpses come back to life to be as tools to guide people home. The cinematography by Larkin Seiple and editing by Matthew Hannam also create a flow of visuals and tempo to keep what the audience is seeing fresh and interesting.

Forever on the edge of our seat, the film makes it impossible to guess what is going to happen next because we are too busy staring in disbelief at what just happened. The feelings I got from this movie, with its freshness and joy, must have been what it was like to watch Indiana Jones or Star Wars for the first time. Of course I’m not saying Swiss Army Man is our new Star Wars, but it does feel like it was made with the same kind of passion that was put into films of the like.

Of course Swiss Army Man will be overlooked at the end of the year when it comes to awards (beyond its magnificent a cappella score written/performed by Andy Hull and Robert McDowell), that is not to say that this film is all for naught. It works to elevate originality by taking a chance and doing something different. In a time when all we seem to get are rehashed sequels, reboots, and spinoffs that clock in at 2.5+ hours, Swiss Army Man’s completely unique and quick-paced storytelling is a breath of fresh air. But you might want to stay upwind.