Thursday, 27 October 2016

REVIEW - SWISS ARMY MAN (DAN KWAN AND DANIEL SCHEINERT)


A twee hipster indie comedy that rather beats the viewer about the head with its barrage of affectations, yet does so with a verve that turns it unusually affable, unusually fast. Much as it may ride on the originality its filmmakers divine from their peculiar premise, Swiss Army Man is actually a fairly prosaic, unoriginal film, both tonally and conceptually. But it's a vapid, vulgar buddy comedy with just about enough innovation in its technical construction, and just about enough honesty in its dramatic construction to get by. Now, that's only my opinion, but then you're only here for my opinion and mine only, so the following is equally a point worth making and one entirely moot: Swiss Army Man will not be for everyone. And indeed, it's often not for me - its male-centric perspective on life follows the formula of so many other obnoxious indie 'dramedies,' burdened down by quirks as they relentlessly puff up the half-baked ennui of their privileged outsider protagonists. So it was to my surprise that Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert were able to reel me in, tickling my funny bone frequently throughout, cooking up all manner of imaginative sequences, and taking their film down curious, though only momentary, diversions. The last of those promises to be the film's finest, until 'Daniels' decide to have their cake and eat it; their willingness to boldly flout the conventions of tonal consistency keeps Swiss Army Man afloat, farting along like a flatulent corpse, but it floats off in two directions when it needed just the one. An awkward end to a film that otherwise made clever use of its own awkwardness, and flouted a few more conventions to winning effect.