Hundreds of films get released each year, but few are as original, daring or joyous as Swiss Army Man. Directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, better known as Daniels, have constructed a debut film with such a singular and astonishing vision that they could care less what the masses think. Arriving on glorious Blu-ray and DVD this week, courtesy of D Films, those willing to take a chance on this deliciously offbeat ride through human existence are in for a treat.
How Hank (Paul Dano) ended up stranded on an isolated island, or what caused Manny’s (Daniel Radcliffe) demise, is not clear at first. All that is known is that Manny’s corpse washes up on shore just as Hank has given up on being rescued. Oddly compelled by the presence of Manny’s gas emitting body, and desperate for companionship in any form, Hank decides to carry Manny along as he tries to figure out a way back to civilization. Sharing his thoughts and fears with Manny’s lifeless body, Hank is shocked to discover that his new pal might not be dead after all. Attempting to teach Manny, who seems to have a host of special abilities, the ways of the world, Hank unexpectedly learns something about his own life in the process.
One of the most unique celebrations of life to be captured on film in years, Swiss Army Man is a film that is deceptive in both its design and construction. On the surface, the film can be viewed as nothing more than a juvenile comedy. However, to dismiss it as such would be short-sighted. Treating Tarō Gomi’s Japanese children’s book Everyone Poops like the preferred gospel we should all follow, Daniels bring a childlike sense of wonder to this imaginative tale. There is something magical about the visual splendor that comes with watching Manny and Hank constructing a world in their minds in which they can work up the nerve to talk to the girl on the bus (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) without fear of rejection.
The extras on the dazzling Blu-ray, including a great audio commentary from Daniels as well as a delightful “Making of Manny” featurette, help to convey how much creativity went into making the film. Unlike anything you have seen before, or will likely see again, Swiss Army Man wholeheartedly embraces its own unique path. A funny, touching, and dizzying experience, the film has many interesting things to say about friendship, family, love, and all the things that make life worth living.
Special Features include:
Q&A with Filmmakers
Swiss Army Man: Behind the Scenes
“Making Manny” Featurette