For Reel

Swiss Army Man (2016)
July 7, 2016, 3:44 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , , ,

Director(s): Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert
3.5 Stars
Swiss Army ManThat Swiss Army Man involves a farting corpse might not be the most objectionable thing about the debut feature from the directing team known as Daniels. Afterall, it’s what audiences are paying to see, and Daniel Radcliffe’s performance doesn’t let down as a bizarre but undeniably affecting work of minimalism. It’s when Swiss Army Man clumsily philosophizes about, among other things, the nature of love in the 21st century that it begins to falter—these are the same notes that a typical Sundance film is sure to hit, and even as it reaches truth, it has the unmistakable feel of over-simplification. Thankfully, things do get more complicated along the way, and that Paul Dano and Radcliffe nearly take the bromance to its natural conclusion plays as a brave step forward in a genre wherein men fill in a romantic void for one another. Moreover, the final act does offer some surprises in the treatment of the MacGuffin that is Mary Elizabeth Winstead, even if her character feels under-conceived—she’s reactionary, but simply has too much to process within the short amount of screentime given. But if the picture succeeds to varying results, Radcliffe’s work is certainly a remarkable achievement, and the consistently under-appreciated Dano plays off of him well.

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