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Swiss Army Man

Benjamin Meyer, Writer

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If you’re bored over the holiday break and looking for something to relieve the boredom, check out “Swiss Army Man,” a surprisingly funny albeit weird movie.

I was at my friend’s house watching B and C movies when we saw “Swiss Army Man.” We went ahead and started watching it with the idea that if it wasn’t so bad that it’s funny or so good at being funny we’d move on. It didn’t take long for us to forget that idea. A man (Paul Dano) who is a lone survivor of some accident ends up on a shore where a corpse washes up. This corpse is Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter). Using the powers of a decomposing corpse, ‘they’ survive. Suddenly the corpse begins to speak and they become friends, with the man teaching the corpse how life works. It is left ambiguous whether or not the man is crazy or if everything is actually happening.

Filmwise, the way the it is shot and composed fits very well to its theme. From close ups to show dirt and other uncleanly things to wide shots showing the odd amount of trash lying around. At different moments in the movie they use quick shots in order to add to the felt insanity. The acting was spot on. Daniel Radcliffe is already a famous actor but playing a corpse is a lot different than playing a character. Facial structure was key and he had a good balance of dead and curious. Paul Dano plays a semi-suicidal man with a low self esteem perfectly. From his interactions with the corpse to his later interactions with other humans, it’s clear he knew his character to a tee.

The soundtrack was created by members of one of my favorite bands, Manchester Orchestra. I recognized the voices immediately. They had been told to keep instruments to a minimum so it’s mostly a cappella and claps. This fits the movie’s idea of using the body. Some songs warranted their own lyric videos such as “Montage” which is an appropriately named song for a montage scene. Andy Hull and Robert McDowell knew exactly what they were doing. You can really feel the humanity in each track. Once you know the true meaning behind the story, the music lift the idea up like the fire in a hot balloon. If it weren’t for the music, it would be a completely different movie.

All in all, this movie is a insane adventure diving into the idea behind man’s apprehension. It encompases a ludicrous plot, an amazing soundtrack, and near perfect acting in one great movie. My recommendation is to watch it with friends.

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Swiss Army Man