Call it quirky, weird, wonderful, fantastical, maybe even a little insane. Daniel Radcliffe’s latest role in the Sundance film Swiss Army Man is unusual to say the least—and it’s getting a lot of buzz, but not necessarily in a good way. In fact, it’s such a departure for the actor that we’re confident saying, you’ve never seen him like this before.
Radcliffe plays Manny, a bloated, gaseous corpse that washes ashore on a deserted island. Paul Dano is Hank, a lone man stranded on the island, about to commit suicide when Manny enters the scene. The two embark on an absurd adventure back to civilization, and into the depths of Hank’s hallucinogenic mind. An unlikely bromance develops—yes, between Hank and Manny’s dead body, which has magical abilities like super-powered farts that propel the two men across the ocean like a jet ski. Starting to see what we mean?
At first, the film’s premise seems simple: Cast Away meets Weekend at Bernie’s. We can get on board with that. But the story takes turns even Wilson wouldn’t believe, and the audience is left questioning what (if any of it) is real and what is imagined. It’s so puzzling in fact, that many viewers walked out of the Park City premiere and tweeted about their bewilderment. Others found the film utterly brilliant. (No word yet on what festival juror Lena Dunham, who was seen entering the theater, thought about the film.)
One thing is certain though: Radcliffe’s performance is pretty amazing and proves he really can play any character. “There was no dead acting class I could take,” he said of preparing for the role. “Maybe there is but I didn’t go to it. I just sort of read [the script] and tried to come up of something.”
When asked what’s better, playing a magical corpse or a wizarding wizard, Radcliffe replied with a laugh, “Don’t make me choose. There’s no way I can answer that. The Internet explodes either way.”