Swiss Army Man

(USA 2016)

The premise of Swiss Army Man is bizarre: Hank (Paul Dano), starving and bored, is stranded on a tiny deserted island. Just as he is about to off himself, he sees a corpse (Daniel Radcliffe) in a suit wash up on the beach. It moves. It squirts water out of its butt. It talks! It has strange powers. Hank names it Manny, and the two set off to find their way home. The previews sold me, so I saw it the night it opened in Chicago.

Swiss Army Man is a strange and perplexing film. Never mind that one of the main characters is a decomposing stiff with a raging boner, a leaky ass, and a fucked up eye—as if that’s not disturbing enough. It’s impossible to discern what’s happening in reality and what’s happening in Hank’s head. The whole thing is a cross between a kid’s story and a hallucination; director Dan Kwan is so vague and hazy that even after a week mulling it over, I have no idea what happened let alone what the film is about. A girl named Sarah (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is involved, a grizzly bear makes an appearance, and the guys bond. Hank can’t masturbate because it makes him remember his dead mother, and his father (Richard Gross) is indifferent to him. Mmmkay.

Somewhere amid the references to Jurassic Park and all the fart, poop, and dick jokes is a point. Friendship saves? Know yourself? Take risks and live life? I honsetly don’t know.

97 minutes
Rated R

(ArcLight) C+

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