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Swiss Army Man

At the beginning of the film, Hank (Paul Dano) is stranded on a deserted island and is about ready to hang himself when he discovers a body (Manny, played by Daniel Radcliffe) washed up on the shore. The movie is about Hank and Manny’s adventure as Hank tries to find his way back home. This film is really difficult to describe, so I won’t really try to describe anything about the story. It is an interesting cross between Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, coming of age, “One Hour Photo”, “Mulholland Drive” and “Castaway” movies, (where Manny is Wilson) – well, the movie references are quite numerous, and their basic plots are put together here in very interesting ways. As strange as the movie is, I really enjoyed it. Yeah, there are a lot of fart jokes, but this is at once a very funny but also very touching movie about friendship, self-acceptance, and love. That the movie works is a credit to the excellent acting abilities of Dano and Radcliffe, two relatively young actors who are gaining a reputation (especially Dano) of playing very interesting and complex characters (as they do in this movie). Thumbs up from me for a movie that is difficult to describe or categorize – it is best to suspend logic and just go with it. I don’t think it was a perfect movie, but I sure laughed a lot and was moved by several of the scenes involving Hank and Manny. This movie is for those who like quirky and strange and directors that take big risks in their writing and filmmaking (okay, it was made for me, really!). (2016; 4 stars)

About Gary Burkholder

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