Michel Gondry’s influence can be felt all over the relentlessly idiosyncratic Swiss Army Man. The striking feature debut by Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert has become one of the year’s most-discussed indie films thanks to its outlandish premise – a man named Hank (Paul Dano) stranded on a desert island discovers a flatulent corpse (Daniel Radcliffe), rides it like a jetski to safety, and befriends it once it magically stirs back to life. The big narrative-driving secret here is Hank’s back story: for the majority of the time, we’re offered no explanation as to how he ended up in such dire circumstances. The film's flashes of inspired originality are too often outweighed by an irritating tendency towards whimsy, but once Hank is forced to confront his own past, the darker final scenes pack an unexpected punch. For once, that hoary critic’s cliché bears some truth – you’ve never seen something quite like this before.
Swiss Army Man | Directed by Dan Kwan, Daniel Scheinert (USA 2016) with Paul Dano, Daniel Radcliffe. Starts October 13