Might the world finally be ready for a cadaveric drama about farting?
If you followed any of the buzz that came out of the latest Sundance Film Festival, you would have run into Swiss Army Man. It’s a story about a guy and his corpse.
Weird cinema has always had a special place for me, though I find as I age my resilience to sit through really abstract stuff has dulled a bit. Still, you need to fit them in just to shake things up. Films like Enter The Void and Enemy should rotate through your viewing list at least once.
And once they do, please explain to me what Enemy was about…
But it’s rare for a strange film to grab headlines and a lot of interest, even when they are film festival darlings. Swiss Army Man doesn’t even have a trailer, but already its premise is well known:
[The] absurdist buddy movie begins with a suicidal, shipwrecked guy (Paul Dano) riding Daniel Radcliffe’s corpse back to the mainland, courtesy of the dead dude’s flatulence that powers them through the water like a Jet Ski.
It turns out the corpse can do all kinds of useful things, hence the name of the film. But is it a drama, a comedy, a long and rude joke? Hard to tell. I believe the corpse’s penis acts as a compass. Even though there is a lot of hype involved, it may still be rubbish. People walked out of the screenings, perhaps due to all of the on-screen flatulence. But I’ve seen Bad Milo, which is about an existential poop demon, so it will require more than breaking wind for me to feel a film is breaking bad.
This does make it a weird pair for Radcliffe, who also starred in the surreal Horns, so he knows a thing or two about picking such projects. There is also some glimmer in that the directors created the notorious Turn Down For What? music video. But music video pedigree does not always translate into filmmaking excellence – just look at the new Nightmare on Elm Street.
Would you like to know more? Probably not, but Buzzfeed has a nice feature about the project and directors, while Indiewire hosts a whole whack of video interviews, including with the film’s third (and presumably living) star Mary Elizabeth Winstead.
But there is something even stranger about this movie than its subject matter. As I mentioned, there is no trailer yet. Nor are there many stills. It’s almost as if this is being marketed by not being marketed. It’s an interesting tactic, though not one I imagine will work for the next Marvel movie. But when your story is about a dead man’s farts, I guess you can get away with it…
Last Updated: February 4, 2016