John Williams' main theme for "Jurassic Park" is one of the best pieces of film score ever composed. In just about 8 minutes, it speaks of a world of opportunity, one that has optimism and a place for all beings: a world of wonder and indefinite fantasy. The soundtrack for "Swiss Army Man" is mostly comprised of acapellas, and its most defining piece is an acapella ode to the Jurassic Park theme, hummed with utter beauty by Daniel Radcliffe (Music by Andy Hull and Robert McDowell). In similar essense, the scene when this piece comes up is also one of sheer magnificence, a point of immense hope in the film's narrative.
With "Swiss Army Man", writer-director pair Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert weave up a gorgeous confluence of visual, sound, and design artistry - all fused together by a keen editor's eye (sharp work by Matthew Hannam). I don't quite know how they have struck upon the idea for the film but if there's a word to describe it, I think "phantasmagorical" would fit the bill. A man (Paul Dano) rowing a boat gets stranded on a desolate island. With no rescue or help in sight, he decides to commit suicide - stopping to inspect a dead body (Daniel Radcliffe) he finds on the beach. But this is no ordinary dead body, it farts, it becomes a reservoir for rain water, it becomes a compass, it has utility: a Swiss Army Man.
One might call this film an adventure, but it is not merely one of a stranded human tracing back his steps to civilization. It is an intricate telling of one's dealing with life's misgivings. One's story of being a misfit, a loner, or someone who is just different whilst having bottomless love, compassion, and creativity boiling within. It is a hard knock on this world's superficiality that a dead person becomes this person's solace, reckoning and a catalyst that brings the love, color, and care out of him; and for him.
At the same time, this film is also crazy, insane in its imagination. It is a film that asks the question, "Yes, why not?" more often than any proposing any "ifs" and "buts". The fantasy it ends up creating in the process is, also, a metaphor for open mindedness, optimism, and free will.
"Swiss Army Man" is now streaming on Netflix.
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