This is such a baller of a movie that you keep wishing it would be better than it is. But Swiss Army Man goes its own nutter way. A creation of Daniels — it’s how writer-directors Daniel Kwan, 28, and Daniel Scheinert, 29, refer to themselves — Swiss Army Man is like nothing you’ve ever seen. Daniels wouldn’t want it any other way.
Paul Dano stars as Hank, a dude who washes up on a desert island so desolate that he wants to end it all. Then Daniel Radcliffe shows up as Manny, who is very helpful for a corpse. That’s right. Manny is dead. But his farting abilities would even dazzle at Hogwarts. Manny breaks wind so gloriously that he becomes a human jet ski who might be able to power Hank off the island. I could tell you what happens next — like the stuff involving how Manny’s boner can work as a field compass. But then I’d be spoiling the surprise, which is really all this experiment has going for it.
At Sundance, where the film debuted in January, Swiss Army Man was roundly dissed as “the Harry Potter farting corpse movie.” That’s unfair. The jerking-off debate between Hank and Manny — yes, the corpse talks when the occasion arises — would remind you of Samuel Beckett if the mind of the author of Waiting for Godot found itself in the craniums of Daniels. The two filmmakers, best known for a music video for “Turn Down for What” (a dance track by Lil Jon and DJ Snake to which the directors set such images as Kwan having carnal knowledge of a TV monitor) have made quite the feature debut. There are times when this mindbending bromance actually achieves a twisted tenderness. There are also times when you’d like to ride Manny’s farts to the nearest exit. It’s your call.