“The Farting Corpse” movie. Movie fans and film critics dubbed it so, after it’s premier at Sundance earlier this year. Some critics held it among their favorites and others walked out in disgust. So why did I choose to see Swiss Army Man on my birthday to watch by myself?
We’re visiting family in NE Pennsylviania, and my awesome wife asked me what I wanted to do today, so naturally, I looked up movie times! There were several choices at the theatres that my wife and I could see together, or maybe we could take our three kids to their first theatre experience. (They’re 4, 3 and 1 and no they haven’t been to a theatre yet though the oldest is dying to go and it’s something we’ll do with her before she starts Kindergarten in August!) But she really pressed me and wanted me to choose the movie I wanted, regardless of restrictions. You see, as a self proclaimed movie fan, I say, “I could watch any movie and probably find something I like about it” so often times I end up choosing to forego the movie I really want to watch and settle for the path of least resistance, which leads to watching the movie that my wife/kids would like or won’t be put off by because of content or subject matter. So rather than seeing some lighter fare I went to see Swiss Army Man, by myself. (It was totally the right decision, my wife wouldn’t have liked it and neither would any of my inlaws!:)
Paul Dano stars as Hank, a lonely man on an island trying to kill himself, when a dead body washes ashore. The dead body is that of Daniel Radcliffe, who’s farting corpse catches Dano’s attention. From then this becomes a buddy comedy as Hank finds many interesting uses for the corpse, from chopping wood, to shaving, to miraculously getting water. All the while Dano converses with this corpse, eventually calling him Manny. Manny we learn is not truly dead but doesn’t understand anything about the former life he left behind. He can converse and even repeat concepts he’s learned from Hank. He helps to reflect Hank to the audience and to himself. Hank is a lonely guy who can barely work up the nerve to tell a girl he likes her. However when meeting this “corpse” he opens up and begins telling him things he’s barely told anyone and finds acceptance and even friendship.
The directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (also called DANIELS) use beautiful music and imagery to tell the story in addition to the amazing acting by Dano and Radcliffe. The Production Design is outstanding as well. There are MANY beautifully made scenarios that were brought to life in the woods by trees, and other found items. All this serves to flesh out the environment the story is told in and enhances the beauty of the film. If you like indie films it will be worth your while. This story is primarily about friendship. It’s about acceptance, love and sacrificing yourself for you friends. It’s a universal story, as all of us have felt rejected and a friendship or multiple friendships have helped us to rise above. The film is worth watching if you love smaller indie films, and have a quirky sense of humor. There were plenty of people laughing in our theatre, and I was one of them. It was an awesome birthday and this movie helped to make it so!