This summer I went into my local theatre to see Swiss Army Man. I am a huge fan of films, and I love Paul Dano. (I know, Daniel Radcliffe is in it too, but I'm not a Harry Potter fanatic.) Within twenty minutes of the movie I thought that I didn't like it. I almost wanted to leave. But I sat through it, and I'm so glad that I did. It's being released on DVD in October, and I have to tell you why you must see this.
I want to say that this is not a film that should be watched at surface level, but then again, I studied film theory and analysis, and after some thought, you can totally watch this at a surface level. If you don't want to challenge yourself or think about potential deeper meanings, you totally don't have to. Let me explain.
When it got to the point in the movie where I started thinking that I didn't like it, it was because there was a series of farting jokes. Not even jokes, but rather, Radcliffe's dead, farting body was helping Dano sail through the sea like he was motor boating. And there were penis jokes. Like, Radcliffe's dead penis lead Dano's character through the woods. I thought it was immature and silly, and I didn't understand the humor in it. That was my problem. I took the story from the surface. I didn't think about the context. I didn't want dick jokes, I wanted a movie with substance. But people in the theater were laughing, they loved the farting. It's totally a matter of preference, and this movie is intriguing, because it pleases those that seek comedy, and people like me, who are movie snobs and harsh critics and require depth.
Swiss Army Man was fascinating for me once I had about a week to digest it. I really loved the way that it was this huge embodiment of everything we find uncomfortable in the world. I didn't like the penis or farting jokes because I was uncomfortable! I was sitting in between my 14 year old sister and my mega Christian father. Who would be comfortable?! Not only those, but it talked about this "awkwardness" that people tend to label themselves with, suicide, love, family drama, and sex. It covered all of these topics that we often see swept under the rug.
This film addresses loneliness and trust. It discusses the way that we bottle our feelings. This man is deserted on an island, and when a corpse drifts ashore, he finds friendship in it. He tells him secrets, and lets his walls down for this literal dead body.
This film addresses how hard the truth can be. You travel miles and miles to a woman who you think is going to open herself up to you and give you affection, but doesn't. She's angry and creeped out in how terrifying it all is. (The feminist in me was so so glad to see a woman respond so honestly to a man searching for her all because of a crush.)
This film gave me so much to think about regarding life and death, and how fine that line can be majority of the time. Humans take risks that we know we probably shouldn't take, but we do anyway. It forced me to think about ultimatum and decisions that are impactful for the world. It really gave me a hard look at death. It's just this beautiful masterpiece. I feel like millennials and young people everywhere should watch and fall in love with this whimsical story. It is funny. It is stunning. It is eye opening. It makes you think. It makes you cry. I absolutely love it.
If you aren't yet convinced to see the movie, or if you aren't a movie person, then I have one more thing to add. The soundtrack is probably one of my most favorite scores for a film in a long time. I am a huge fan of Wes Anderson scores, The Grand Budapest Hotel's score holds a very special place in my heart, but when I tell you that Swiss Army Man has a beautiful soundtrack, I am not lying. Literally, Manchester Orchestra, Paul Dano, and Daniel Radcliffe sing the entire thing. It is captivating! I'm a lover of a cappella groups, and this is just such beautiful music. Don't even watch the movie. Go on Spotify and listen to the soundtrack. You will get goosebumps. The score makes me want to run through wheat fields, jump in to cold water, and fly. It's magnificent. I cannot say enough good about it.
Conclusion: If you like weird and thought provoking cinema with excellent acting, directing, cinematography, and music, go see Swiss Army Man. If you don't, go listen to the soundtrack. Let me know how much you love it.
Published by Emma Rathe