In a Nutshell. Mini reviews of movies old and new. Minimum words. No fuss. No spoilers. Occasional trout.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

SWISS ARMY MAN [2016]

Writer/directors Dan Kwan & Daniel Scheinert produce the most beautifully bizarre film of the year with the wilderness buddy drama Swiss Army Man.
A suicidal man stranded on a desert island discovers a body washed ashore, that develops the power of speech (and flatulence) which helps him see his problems with a great deal more clarity.
With such a simple story, it's astonishing just how much is going on here that at times is hilarious, tragic, heart-wrenching, hopeful and "fuckin' crazy".  With each of it's main stars fully committed to the outlandish scenarios they're given to play in, the film is graced with a bizarre dreamy realism that acts as if it were Charlie Kaufman directing his own version of Weekend at Bernie's.  When all is said and done, the film has all sorts of functions and purpose but you're oddly unsure yet ultimately satisfied with what you collected from it.

4 bus rides out of 5

10 comments:

budarc said...

I watched it four times in theaters, which is something I've never done before (I saw Anomalisa three times). If you can't relate to the kind of loneliness depicted in this film, count yourself among the lucky. There are so few movies as different and refreshing as this one, and even fewer movies that make me feel like I belong in that world. There's nothing else quite like it.

I won't see a better film this year, or possibly, my lifetime.

5 gloriously-cathartic, life-affirming farts out of 5

cuckoo said...

With no 5-star films from me yet this year, this is most definitely a front-runner for the top spot of 2016.

There's a few others that will fight for it but nothing quite as unique as this one...and in the end, uniqueness is what will probably win me over.

budarc said...

I think it's too early to declare a top 10, but here are my favorites so far:

Swiss Army Man
Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Captain Fantastic
Deadpool
Midnight Special
The Neon Demon
The BFG
Pee-wee's Big Holiday
Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
Sausage Party

For some reason, I'm really looking forward to La La Land. Ever since I saw that first teaser, it seemed somehow special to me.

cuckoo said...

I forgot all about The BFG.
I anticipate that one once it hits VoD.

4 of those films on your list will definitely be on my Year's End list...I have a long list of foreign and doc films that will probably start bringing in the 4-5 stars...or at least I'm hoping.

I'm looking forward to La La Land too.
Based on Grand Piano and Whiplash, Chazelle definitely knows his music.
Also based on those films and Cloverfield Lane, he also knows dramatic tension.
La La Land seems like it's a new step for him.

budarc said...

There were a couple of others I was teasing on that list. 10 Cloverfield Lane, The Witch and Wiener-Dog. Although I'm still morally torn on that last one; my favoritism for Solondz might be showing.

I was lucky enough to see The BFG on a big fucking screen in 3D, the way it was meant to be seen. It felt like one big magical fairytale. I hope that flavor isn't lost on the small screen.

Is it just me, or was this year a little...light? There are not many outright favorites (besides Swiss Army Man) I can declare so far. Even looking further into the calendar, I can't see anything I'm anticipating (besides La La Land). But of course they always spring the really good ones on us in the last couple of weeks of December/first weeks of January.

cuckoo said...

Yes...The Witch will definitely be a Year's End favorite for me.

I have yet to see Wiener-Dog.
I like me some Greta Gerwig and Solondz does pretty good too.
Together seems like uber-quirky-indie-film magic....now just add a Duplass into that mix and it'd probably stop quirky-indie-time. :laugh:

...but as of yet, you're absolutely right, nothings REALLY grabbed me quite yet. Almost to the point where, if I were to do the list right now, there wouldn't be a whole lot of thought or sacrifice put into the winning titles.
I know there's at least 10 more films I'm REALLY looking forward to this year but couldn't name them off the top of my head.
La La Land, Arrival (I have a Vilenueve boner something fierce), Peculiar Children, Rogue One, Doc Strange, Hacksaw Ridge, Bad Santa 2, Silence and Loving.
Hmmm...I guess I could name them. :D

budarc said...

You know how much I love lists. :D

Arrival
Assassin's Creed
Bad Santa 2
David Brent: Life on the Road
Doctor Strange
Don't Think Twice
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Gold
Inferno
La La Land
Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World
Mascots
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Moana
A Monster Calls
Passengers
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Voyage of Time: Life's Journey

That's how my IMDb watchlist stands right now.

...

Jeez, I guess there are quite a few I'm looking forward to. :P

cuckoo said...

Oh yeah...David Brent.

I keep forgetting about that one.

That'd be #10 on my anticipated list. :D

budarc said...

I just wanted to use this space to mention a couple of other titles for people interested in this movie (if anyone else actually reads this).

Castaway on the Moon (2009) is a South Korean film about a guy who tries to kill himself and ends up stranded on a deserted island. Meanwhile, an agoraphobic woman observes him from the comfort of her own room. Your "bus rides" rating would also be applicable to this one.

Decay (2015) is about an extremely lonely man who stumbles upon a dead body and keeps it around for company. This is Swiss Army Man if it was played totally straight and completely depressing. It's a difficult watch, but there aren't many movies out there that lonely people like me can relate to.

Also, just for fun, the Daniels' short film made prior to Swiss Army Man is entitled Interesting Ball (2014). While it doesn't make a lot of narrative sense, it features a lot of fantastical imagery that you won't be able to get out of your head. At 13 minutes, it's worth a watch for fans of the weird: https://vimeo.com/110808221

cuckoo said...

Nice.
Castaway on the Moon is something I'll definitely check out.