When the raucous survival film Swiss Army Man set Sundance aflame this January – aided in no small part from some infamously inflammatory methane – the only tidbit more shocking than hearing secondhand strands from its preposterous plot was the news that indie dynamo distributer A24 picked up its check to jet ski it across cinemas nationwide. Prompting walkouts that don’t sound too dissimilar from recently announced Tribeca juror and enfant terrible Sebastian Silva’s 2015 submission Nasty Baby, Swiss Army Man was immediately accused of churlish, childish, and undeniably crass crimes against good taste – what else would one expect from a buddy film about Paul Dano enduring starvation and isolation on a desert isle thanks to the multipronged malleability of Daniel Radcliffe’s flatulent, tumescent corpse? Certainly not a Directing Award, which the film’s directors Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinhart scooped up nonetheless; together, they go by the monicker Daniels…please make us proud.
Well, the trailer landed this week and it’s a doozy. Alternating between the bracing and bizarro, its Robinson Crusoe by way of Weekend At Bernie’s vision is sure to split audiences, test their endurance, and leave them wondering if it belongs with the sublime or subpar. Feast your eyes; clutch your stomach.
A few stray thoughts…
- Surely I can’t be the only one clamoring for a Moonrise Kingdom beachside boogie with those two dudes amongst the sand and rocks. I have plenty of quibbles with both of their heavily mannered works the past few years but that almost makes it more enticing.
- On that same point, their chemistry makes me long for their buddy cop film. Let's call it Love & Mercy.
- While Radcliffe’s face is sort of frozen in that I’m A Conflicted Man! way that featured heavily in the post-puberty Potter films, at least MacGyvering him into a karate chop trebuchet, bulletproof vest, and eternal spring puts it to good use.
- I know it’s the tongue-in-cheek inspirational tune, but the combination of fun house imagery and unconventional companionship warms my heart.
- If a Paul Dano screams in the woods with no living soul around to hear it, does it still make a sound?
Gotta say, I’m kind of into it. The slapdash inventiveness, bold visuals, and blowing up of the rote genre volleyball hooked me. Does this look like a page one wash or does the audacity strike a chord with you?