The role of sound design is an often a neglected or overlooked area of cinema, but it can make or break a film. In genre cinema, it’s imperative in terms of building tension and maximising scares. In war films, and Saving Private Ryan is one of the best examples of this, it can really draw you in to the action and add an extra layer of realism. Sound plays a huge role in Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert’s rather strange film Swiss Army Man, bringing it to life.
Marooned on an island, Hank (Paul Dano) has had enough. He’s about to end it all when a corpse (Daniel Radcliffe) washes up on the beach. Whilst trying to resuscitate the body he’s initially amused by its flatulence but quickly realises he can use it to escape. As they shelter in a cave on the mainland, Hank begins to bond with his new friend he calls Manny. As Manny slowly comes to life with no memory of his past, Hank teaches him about life.
There’s a lot more to Swiss Army Man than a tale of a bromance with a farting corpse whose erection acts as a compass. The ‘Two Daniels’ use this premise to dig much deeper into the human psyche. Bizarrely, it’s one of Radcliffe’s best performances and the sound design really brings their new world to life. Swiss Army Man is more than just a mere curiosity. It’s a completely fresh approach to tackling the subject of loneliness.
Lionsgate UK releases Swiss Army Man on DVD & Blu-ray 10th April, 2017.