While mainstream Hollywood tends to bank on familiarity and prefers to play it safe while shoving big-budget remakes, reboots and sequels down our collective throats, independent filmmakers have the luxury of taking risks, daring to be different and to embrace their inner freakiness. When I first saw the teaser for the Daniels’ (Scheinert and Kwan) weirdly funny dramedy ‘Swiss Army Man,’ I knew this is one such movie. Its trailer features an outlandish scene of a young man stranded on an island who’s about to give up and hang himself until he noticed a corpse washed ashore, then things become more and more crazy from there.
The corpse “befriending” the young man Hank (Paul Dano) in question is played by none other than Harry Potter’s Daniel Radcliffe, who gave what may be his best performance yet (as a cadaver no less) in a hilarious turn as the flatulent gas-bag Manny. Manny provided the companionship Hank desperately needed during his enforced solitude to keep his sanity and will to live, and the two unlikeliest of buddies often struck up conversations on personal topics that no self-respecting straight man should feel comfortable discussing. But this is no mere ambiguously gay tale, oh no, as both Hank and Manny just so happen to yearn for the same woman, Sarah, which is entirely understandable because she’s played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead.
A comedy featuring a corpse hasn’t been this weirdly funny since ‘Weekend at Bernie’s.’ Quirky and refreshingly original, 'Swiss Army Man' proves that indies may yet be Hollywood’s salvation and represents a promising start for Scheinert and Kwan as indie filmmakers with a unique and singular vision. While their eccentricities may not be everyone’s cup of tea, I’ll be eagerly awaiting for their next project as long as it doesn’t become one continuous fart joke.