Swiss Army Man [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray B - United Kingdom - Lions Gate Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Samuel Scott (9th April 2017).
The Film

***This is an A/V and Extras review only. For reviews on the movie from various critics, we recommend visiting HERE***

Bursting with limitless creativity, SWISS ARMY MAN goes from the absurd to the emotional to the whimsical to the profound and back again. Hank (Paul Dano) is stranded on a deserted island, having given up all hope of ever making it home again. But one day everything changes when a corpse named Manny (Daniel Radcliffe) washes up on shore; the two become fast friends, and ultimately go on an epic adventure that will bring Hank back to the woman of his dreams.

SWISS ARMY MAN creates a world like no other—a place of pure fantastical imagination, brimming with magical realism yet featuring two characters whose dreams and fears are entirely relatable. Dano and Radcliffe both fully commit to their directors’ audacious vision, and their work is exceptional, finding the perfect balance of humour and heart that drives the whole film. A celebration of all the wonders cinema has to offer, SWISS ARMY MAN is a cultural phenomenon in the making -- a surreal and wholly original examination of human vulnerability and connection that must be experienced.

Video

Swiss Army Man comes to Blu-ray in the United Kingdom courtesy of distributor Lions Gate Home Entertainment. The transfer is 1080p and receives an AVC MPEG-4 codec. As to be expected from a well known studio, the feature is of course in the original aspect ratio of 2.40:1. It looks great.

Shot in just three weeks with a low budget of three million dollars, Swiss Army Man was filmed entirely on digital, though some post production trickery has been used to add a light layer of natural looking but ultimately faux film grain during some scenes. The film looks exceptionally sharp in both the lighter scenes and the darker scenes. Whether it be the foliage of the surrounding environment, the decaying face of Manny, the dirt on clothing, or even the straggled hair, details are simply crystal clear throughout, even in the shadows. Colours are bright and vibrant where they need to be, and blacks are dark and inky. The skin tones look perfect, whether they be the dirty face of Hank, or the pale complexion of Manny. There is the occasional long shot of sky lines - most notably at the beginning when Hank sees Manny on the ocean - and I was surprised at there being not even the slightest hint of banding in these shots. There are no compression artefacts, or any other anomalies that I noticed. This is just about reference quality. There are recent films with 50x the budget that struggle to look as good as this.

The feature is uncut, and runs 97:41.

Audio

Two audio options have been included here:
- English Dolby Atmos 7.1.4 (TrueHD 7.1 core)
- English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

For my viewing, I opted for the Atmos track - a format I have so far only experienced at home with several big action films. Well, I was very impressed. The track utilises the sound stage well, with lots of subtle environmental effects and good usage of the LFE channel. Of course, the film became famous upon release on the festival circuit for its flatulence, and the surrounds make full use of the array of fart noises here. However, I found the most immersive moments to be those which offered a little more to the story whilst utilising the surrounds to help push the environment home, like the underwater sequence at 61:21. The score suited the film very well, especially the "Crazy" song which makes more than one appearance. There were no notable problems with the audio.

Optional subtitles have been included in English for the hard-of-hearing.

Extras

Audio commentary - writers/directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, production designer Jason Kisvarnay and sound mixer/fartist Brent Kiser, join forces to deliver a lively affair that looks at various aspects of the film production, and more about farts that you can imagine a commentary could deliver. Aside from the bodily function elements, this is quite a standard track which will be of interest to anyone who enjoyed the film, and would like to know more about it from a filmmaker's viewpoint.

"Behind the Scenes" featurette (16:42) - This is pretty standard fare with plenty of behind the scenes footage coupled with sound bites, with a lot of emphasis on the special effects and the two leads. Worth a watch.

"Making Manny" featurette (3:14) - Short but enjoyable look at how they made the mannequin of Manny.

Deleted Scenes:
- Play All (9:11)
- "A Raccoon Walks on Manny" (1:29)
- "Manny Cries" (1:38)
- "Hank and Manny Discuss What a Fetish Is" (2:46)
- "River Rocket Scene" (with alternative music) (1:29)
- "Renaissance Woman Mary Elizabeth Winstead Acting and Actor Coaching" (1:46)
Clearly removed for pacing, they are still worth a watch. The Mary Elizabeth Winstead scene was the most interesting overall, but I also recommend viewing the fetish discussion which is surprisingly funny.

Q & A with Filmmakers (66:45) - Personally, I thought this was by far and away the best extra on the disc. The Q&A generally revolves around the sound design aspect of the film, and is held at the Dolby Institute who actually gave a grant to the filmmakers for the various audio elements of the feature. There is plenty of fun info here, and it is great to see a Q&A like this focus on an often overlooked part of film. I'm certainly glad they touched on their use of the Jurassic Park music too.

Overall

Ummm, how do you explain the film? Well, it's something different that everyone should make an effort to see, but I think overall it will polarise viewers. Personally I felt the performances were better than the film deserved. However, the film gets a superb outing from Lions Gate, with a cracking A/V presentation and a nice selection of extras.

The Film: C+ Video: A Audio: A Extras: B Overall: B-

 


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