Who is dead Manny: the clue to the film Swiss Army Man. Swiss Army Man the meaning and essence of the film, an explanation of the ending, similar films
Genre: fantasy, drama, comedy
Year of production: 2016
Director: Dan Kwan, Daniel Scheinert
Cast: Paul Dano, Daniel Radcliffe, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Antonia Ribero
tagline: “A corpse is known in trouble”
Awards & Nominations: Best Director for a Drama Film at the Sundance Film Festival
“Swiss Army Man” is a rather unusual work that received mixed reviews from viewers and film critics. The film is clearly not intended for family viewing, although it is positioned as a tragicomedy. Of course, there are moments that make you smile, but what is happening on the screen is more like a farce. At the same time, behind the feigned swagger lies the meaning of the film Swiss Army Man, which is really deep and reveals the true essence of what is happening on the screen. Let’s try to explain the plot and arrange a complete analysis of such an unusual idea of the director.
What is Swiss Army Man about?
According to the content of the film, we immediately see a guy who, as it turns out later, is called Hank. It is not clear where, but the surrounding landscape strongly resembles a desert island. Apparently, our hero has been here for a long time and out of desperation is trying to commit suicide. However, such radical plans are not destined to come true. Waves throw a corpse in a solid suit ashore.
Paul Dano as Hank. Frame from the film.
It is this discovery that saves Hank from suicide, but it soon turns out that the corpse has an amazing ability – it releases gases loudly. At the same time, flatulence is so powerful that the dead body literally shudders in convulsions. Taking advantage of this feature, Hank literally harnesses his new acquaintance and, as if on a jetski, rushes on him through the water surface. As a result of such an unusual journey, Hank, along with the corpse, find themselves on the other side. Here the guy decides to get to civilization in order to escape and drags the lifeless body deep into the territory.
It soon becomes clear that the corpse has many other abilities. When Hank is thirsty, the body will expel water, allowing the guy to drink. Then the corpse begins to make sounds, and even announces that his name is Manny. At the same time, the corpse has no memory at all, so Hank has to fiddle with him like a small child, explaining the meaning of obvious things.
As the story progresses, it turns out that Manny had a girlfriend named Sarah, whom he loved very much. Now that he’s no longer dead, he doesn’t know how to get along with her. To do this, Hank arranges real role-playing games for his friend. He dresses up as a girl and acts out on the bus to help Manny adjust to the situation and get along with Sarah.
Gradually, these games turn into something more. Hank plays prank parties, dates, and this helps Manny to become more alive. At the same time, the more the former corpse comes to life, the more various abilities it has. For example, it helps build a fire, breaks rocks, and even acts as a hunting rifle, shooting pebbles and debris at prey.
Daniel Radcliffe played the corpse. Frame from the film.
The heroes are gradually moving forward, but not far from Sarah’s house, the following is revealed. The phone belongs to Hank, and Sarah is not Manny’s sweetheart at all. This is just a stranger that Hank saw on the bus, but could not talk to her. Manny considers this a betrayal and decides it’s better for him to be dead again. As corny as it sounds, the corpse dies again and Hank is attacked by a bear. When the clubfoot drags the guy into the bushes, Manny decides to help his friend, comes to life again and scares off the predator.
Now the roles of the characters in the film Swiss Army Man are changing. Now Manny is dragging his friend along so he can finally talk to Sarah. They get to the girl’s house, where they meet Sarah’s daughter on the lawn. Manny is trying to demonstrate his superpowers, but it looks pretty stupid. Sarah sees a strange couple and calls the police. The detectives and medics give Hank medical attention, while Manny is packed in a plastic body bag.
However, our hero does something unexpected. He decides to stay with the body, and runs into the forest with the gurney. On the shore they overtake him and put him in handcuffs. For all eyewitnesses – Hank is crazy, who is talking to a corpse two weeks ago. When the guy is taken away, the corpse again begins an attack of flatulence. Hank says goodbye to his friend, and he is carried away into the water distance on his “jet” thrust in front of TV people and astonished eyewitnesses. The final.
Explanation of the ending of the film Swiss Army Man
The end of the film suggests two scenarios. The first one is fantastic. In this scenario, Manny is a truly animated corpse, endowed with supernatural powers. In this case, the meaning of the ending of the film Swiss Army Man will be direct, without any allegories. Manny really came to life and went on a journey on his flatulence engine.
The second is realistic. Manny is a corpse that has been in the water for two weeks. Desperate Hank simply found in a lifeless body the only friend who, to a certain extent, helped him understand himself. In this interpretation, the film takes on a philosophical meaning, and here it is necessary to focus only on Hank, who projects his childhood complexes onto the corpse and tries to get rid of them, albeit in such an unusual form. All body abilities occur only in Hank’s imagination. In reality, it’s just a corpse.
Meaning of the movie Swiss Army Man
If you do not focus on the obscure ending, then the essence of the film turns out to be allegorical, but very interesting. The clue here is that Hank hasn’t been to any island. All the action takes place in the coastal zone, not far from people.
The island itself is lonely. Hank is really lonely, he has no friends, and he ran away from home because no one loves him. The only outlet in his life was Sarah, whom he met on the bus, secretly followed her and took pictures on the phone. However, he did not dare to approach the girl and speak.
Here, the hidden meaning may lie in the fact that as a child the guy had rather strange conversations with his parents about self-satisfaction, the meaning of which was that if he continued to do this, he would quickly grow old and die. Surely this caused the boy a serious psychological trauma, and he simply does not know how to build relationships with the opposite sex.
Finding a corpse on the shore, Hank seemed to have got out of the island of his loneliness. He took patronage over Manny, telling him about what no one had ever talked about with the guy himself. All the dating scenes played with the corpse helped Hank gain confidence in himself. The more confident he became, the more animated Manny became. In front of Sarah’s house, the corpse was already able to walk on its own and even dragged Hank on itself. However, seeing with his own eyes the object of his desire, the guy was frankly blown away, and Manny lay like a lifeless bag on the lawn. With Sarah, the guy did not dare to talk like that.
Realizing his failure, our hero realized that he spent the best moments of his life with a corpse. This is what motivated him to try to steal the body. However, in society, such quirks are not welcome, so the escaped hero was found and chained in bracelets.
In this case, the explanation for the ending of the story could be as follows. Manny is just a part of Hank’s subconscious. His timidity, uncertainty, complexes. In the end, he gets rid of them, and the corpse, smiling, is carried away into the water distance.
Frame from the film.
Movies similar to Swiss Army Man
- Weekend at Bernie’s (USA, 1989). Two employees of an insurance company convict their boss of theft. They come to his party and find Bernie dead, now the guys have to make sure that the guests do not suspect anything.
- Cast Away (USA, 2000). Chuck Noland is the sole survivor of a plane crash over the Pacific Ocean. Now the postal worker has to learn how to survive on a desert island.
- Fight Club (USA, 1999). A person is trying to escape from the routine of gray everyday life and is looking for the meaning of life. Everything changes when he meets a certain Tyler who adheres to the principles of self-destruction.
- Split (USA, 2017). A mentally unbalanced man with 23 personalities in his head kidnaps two girls. At the same time, all personalities are afraid of the Beast, which will soon come to purify people with pain.
- Tideland (UK, 2005). Little Jeliza-Rose is unlucky with parents who don’t care about the baby, and she plays with doll heads that have been torn off. After the death of the mother, the father takes his daughter to his childhood home, where the escape from reality turns into real madness.