DANIELS’ SWISS ARMY MAN — A REVIEW BY NICK CLEMENT

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The final line of dialogue in Swiss Army Man sums up the entire viewing experience: “What the fuck?” This is one of the most visually inventive and thematically odd films I’ve seen in years, and despite the concluding 15 minutes not truly working for me, the previous 75 minutes are pure stony bliss. I’ve also never seen a film concentrate as much on farts and farting as this one did. Seriously. Farting, and how people react to their own farts and the farts of others, is a topic that’s explored in great depth during this film. If you’ve seen the trailer, then you know what to expect, as this is one instance where the marketing department didn’t hide what was in store from the viewer. In fact, stop reading this now, go watch the trailer, and you’ll likely know just from those two and a half minutes if this wild and crazy piece of work is going to be up your cinematic alley, or if you’re better off just smelling your own farts for effect instead.

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I don’t want to discuss too much about what this idiosyncratic film is about, because, I suspect that this film will be about a great many things to everyone who checks it out. All I can say is that Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe were both fantastic (especially Radcliffe), the in-camera practical effects defy logic, the cinematography is stunning, and I caught whiffs of Where the Wild Things Are all throughout (Dano is basically an older version of Max from that story). The directors, who go by Daniels (they both share the same first name), seem to be totally insane and happy about it, as this is a flick that PROUDLY marches to the beat of a VERY specialized and specific drum. It’s also got a really catchy theme song. I wish that it had all wrapped up in a different manner, but regardless, this is something I can see myself revisiting more than once. I mean – you get to see a fart-powered human Ski-Doo – how cool is that?!

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