The world of indie films is quickly turning into something that doesn’t feel very indie, and often the assignation of the term has a lot more to do with the quirky nature of a film than the money and/or studio status, but once in a while something comes along that isn’t just quirky for the sake of capitalizing on a niche demo.

Swiss Army Man is a film so bonkers that it has no options other than to be something absolutely brilliant, or among the worst movies of the year.

That means it’s up to you to try to ferret out which of those is headed your way. You can finally watch the trailer, and there is certainly some potential revealed there, but I leave things mostly on the shoulders of Paul Dano. Underappreciated for years, Dano has mostly been amazing throughout his entire career, and even when he wasn’t absolutely brilliant, he has chosen well.

But, that was before he chose a movie that stars, apparently for most of the film, no one else but Daniel Radcliffe playing a corpse.

We’re pushing things here.

Take a look, and let us know what you think.

Swiss Army Man poster
courtesy A24

 

 

A wholly original, enormously entertaining, and deeply heartfelt look at what it means to be human, Swiss Army Man is the feature film debut of acclaimed music video directors Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan (collectively known as DANIELS, and responsible for the beloved “Turn Down For What” video, among many others). Bursting with limitless creativity in both form and content, Swiss Army Man goes from the absurd to the emotional to the whimsical to the profound and back again.

Hank (Paul Dano) is stranded on a deserted island, having given up all hope of ever making it home again.  But one day everything changes when a corpse named Manny (Daniel Radcliffe) washes up on shore; the two become fast friends, and ultimately go on an epic adventure that will bring Hank back to the woman of his dreams.

Swiss Army Man creates a world like no other—a place of pure fantastical imagination, brimming with magical realism yet featuring two characters whose dreams and fears are entirely relatable. Dano and Radcliffe both fully commit to their directors’ audacious vision, and their work is exceptional, finding the perfect balance of humor and heart that drives the whole film.  A celebration of all the wonders cinema has to offer, Swiss Army Man is ultimately all the more remarkable for using its dazzling originality to tell a universal story of human complexity and connection.

 

 


 

Marc Eastman is the owner and operator of Are You Screening? and has been writing film reviews for over a decade, and several branches of the internet's film review world have seen his name. He is also a member of The Broadcast Film Critics Association and The Broadcast Television Journalists Association.