Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *
Cast: Paul Dano, Daniel Radcliffe, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Antonio Ribero, Timothy Eulich, Richard Gross, Marika Casteel, Andy Hull, Aaron Marshall, Shane Carruth, Jessica Harbeck.
There are moments on screen when you wonder who exactly gave the green light to a project that on the face of it seems so incredibly preposterous that it surely only exists in the minds of the wonderfully imaginative but creatively bonkers. A story that somehow really should not work at all on film; yet has the power at the closing credits to have you smiling as you walk towards your bus or contemplate catching your train, a smile that borders on the enticed and cinematically romanced.
Daniel Scheinert’s and Dan Kwan’s Swiss Army Man is one such film, one that has you checking your pulse for signs of erratic behaviour, for the chance to realise that beneath your sometimes stony heart, swings and beats an organic machine capable of revelling in the absurd and the beautiful. To have that kind of power over an audience is to be congratulated and even if the film does rely quite a bit of the fart joke to get it going, it still rates higher that many of the so called feel good films or even comedies that Hollywood obsesses over.
The film bonds with the audience on a much deeper level than the initial statement suggests, it attaches itself to the viewer’s heart primarily on the relationship between Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe, an actor who finally might be dusting himself off from the long association of playing J.K. Rowling’s eponymous hero Harry Potter and coming to terms with his own early success. It is this friendship that sees both the actors bring out the very best in the film for which they dominate for virtually the entire film. Sitting in the audience you cannot but help falling in love with the complexity of the situation they find themselves in and the loyalty that is displayed towards the end of the film. It is a film that asks you to suspend disbelief and if you can master that then the link between the two men is something very beautiful and intelligently presented.
Swiss Army Man is a film that captures the heart but also kicks the imagination into a higher gear, the absurd and the comic, the charming and the disturbing all rolled up into a big ball and given life; whoever disagreed with this being made might be considered mad, for a genuinely pleasing and satisfying film is hard to come by at the best of times.
Ian D. Hall