“Swiss Army Man”

I look forward to watching a post-Harry Potter Daniel Radcliffe movie because he does what he wants. He has the financial freedom and power to do so, so why not play a farting corpse?

“Swiss Army Man” follows suicidal Hank (Paul Dano) stranded on an island. He notices a corpse named Manny (Radcliffe) slowly come back to life, possessing powers that are able to guide Hank home. Thus, an eccentric friendship blossoms.

For the first two acts of “Swiss Army Man,” I was close to naming it one of the year’s best movies. It’s sweet without being sentimental, simultaneously juvenile (the movie consists of dick and fart jokes) and philosophical, and philosophical without being pretentious. Dano and Radcliffe carry this movie.

Whether it’s Hank teaching Manny about movies and love, or Manny bluntly saying he’ll masturbate thinking about Hank’s mom, the laughs are consistent. “Swiss Army Man” also works as a dark adventure, as they struggle with nature and encounter a bear while contemplating if life is worth living for.

SPOILERS AHEAD!

I’ll never watch “Swiss Army Man” again because the final act makes the movie creepy and depressing as a whole. There’s a subplot involving Hank’s phone having a picture of a girl named Sarah (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and we’re left thinking she’s Hank’s girlfriend.

After he reveals that he took the picture of Sarah without actually meeting her, and we learn that he has several other pictures of her on his phone, I felt manipulated and frustrated we were rooting for a stalker for two hours. Manny was the actual protagonist of this movie.

Manny’s a curious child being used by Hank, who doesn’t care about him until the movie’s end. When Manny escapes across the ocean, that’s the only happy ending we get in “Swiss Army Man.” There isn’t much sympathy for Hank, but that’s fine since we were tricked in rooting for a stalker.

“Swiss Army Man” is fun at first, but I wish the filmmakers either were honest about Hank or wrote a more likable protagonist. People will say I missed the point and maybe I did. But was the point to feel uncomfortable? I’m asking you!

Grade: B-

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