Daniel Scheinert & Daniel Kwan are two collaborators and best friend filmmakers known collectively and professionally as THE DANIELS. The music video for DJ Snake’s ‘Turn Down For What’ being their most recognised work, SWISS ARMY MAN marks their first feature film. Delivering an extremely original and beautifully strange motion picture, all that is about to change as the world will now remember their names. A film like NOTHING you have ever seen before, nor likely ever will again, this is undoubtedly one of this year’s best films thus far and a magnificently delicious piece of modern art. Clever, hilarious and gifted with truly remarkable Oscar worthy performances by the great Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe, you’ll be smiling the whole way through as you fall in love with this life inspiring, intelligently crafted instant cult classic.
Paul Dano is Hank, a man stranded alone on a remote island. On the brink of suicide, and having given up on ever making it home again, he’s lost his purpose in life and can only see one way out. Noticing a dead body (Daniel Radcliffe) wash ashore on the beach, he rushes to investigate. Fascinated and interested by it, he develops an unusual friendship with the corpse, naming him Manny, and soon discovers that not only can his new friend talk, but he also possesses a range of impossible and incredible superhuman powers. Newly desperate to return to the life he left behind and the girl of his dreams, the two embark on an adventure to get back home. Using Manny’s power of unlimited flatulence to propel through the ocean as a jet ski, we are treated to an absurdly bizarre, albeit fantastic opening, and from there on out the hits keep on coming.
As we discover all the crazy things Manny can do as the ‘multi-purpose-tool-guy’, learn about Hank’s past and watch the two teach other about life, love and what it means to be human, we’re along for the ride as the tone shifts from laugh out loud humour to tear jerking moments of reality. Carrying emotional depth underneath its uncanny premise of a dead corpse who farts and can do just about anything, it becomes clear certain metaphors are in play with themes of being yourself, self discovery and letting go mixed in with the backbone of how important friendship is. Striking comedic gold in every way possible, it is very funny at its core and in particular, every scene involving Manny using his body doing something to help Hank survive is worth the ticket price alone. Making you chuckle and pulling at your heart strings back and forth is further reflection of the narrative of the film – the notion that life is both wonderful and sad at the same time.
Embodying their respective characters with interesting and fully dimensional performances, the film is carried perfectly by equal leads Dano and Radcliffe. Going above and beyond the reaches of what a regular film demands, the always exceptional Dano adds another iconic character to his filmography , further proving himself to be one of this generations best working actors while the consistently brilliant Radcliffe, far from his days as everyone’s favourite boy wizard, gives the best performance of his career. With excellent chemistry and certain camaraderie between them, they make the unreal feel reel in a believable friendship built on trust, humour and respect that will keep you happily confused guessing whether or not Manny’s actually dead.
So much more than just ‘The Farting Corpse Movie’, SWISS ARMY MAN is immune from being categorized into one genre. Not just a crazy fun time at the movies, but also a unique, unpredictable and immensely entertaining experience, this is a quotable, refreshing film about life, survival and love. Bursting at the seams with creativity and partnered with a cool soundtrack, this should remind us all what true cinematic art form looks like.
Hot on the gas of masterful filmmaking, The DANIELS have cemented themselves as directors to watch out for and their film deserves your attention now!