Those flabbergasted reports out of Sundance haven’t exactly misled you: Swiss Army Man contains of symphonic flatulence and magical boners. But behind the cruder devices you’ve undoubtedly heard about is an uncommonly openhearted and non-judgmental film. A remarkable debut by Daniels (Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, also their first screenplay) the film is imaginatively crafted at almost every turn, more original than almost anything seen this summer. Don’t let the pubescent fascinations fool you, this film is more soulful than you would expect.
Swiss wastes no time getting into the adventures, opening on Hank (Paul Dano) preparing to hang himself after being stranded for an extended time alone on a tiny island. The dead body of Manny (Daniel Radcliffe) washes ashore to not only derail Hank’s death, but also to play savior and survival tool via that post-mortem gas and boner compass. As Manny becomes more (re)animated and the all-purpose device of the title, Hank is also educating him on the boy-child psyche that freezes him mentally back on the mainland.