Swiss Army Trash

“A hopeless man (“the autist”) stranded on a deserted island befriends a dead body (“Daniel Radcliffe”) and together they go on a surreal journey to get home.”

Spoiler:  No, they really, REALLY don’t.  I’m not linking to this film because you shouldn’t watch it.  It’s gloriously bad in all the worst ways.

Threw on some trash to watch while alone for an afternoon doing some home repairs.  Since mainstream titles worth watching are hen’s teeth rare these days, I figured I’d give an indy title a shot.  Oops.  Swiss Army Man features an autist struggling to find meaning in his life who does befriend a dead body.  Their journey to escape the desert island and then find their way through the woods to civilization in the Pacific Northwest parallels their search for meaning.

As this is a film made by people far more clever than wise, they explicitly reject God early on in the process.  The corpse of Daniel Radcliffe has a lot of magic powers, but has a blank slate of a mind.  The Autist’s struggle to explain life to the not-quite-zombie wanders aimlessly, with a focus on the mechanics of eating, pooping, flatulence, and sex.  When they stumble upon a trash heap, the film-makers illustrate for Dead Radcliffe the concepts of empty (pizza box), smelly (empty Chinese takeout box), and old (Bible).  They go out of their way to use the Bible as a slate upon which the autist draws the concept of pooping by drawing an elephant pooping in brown smears.  Because the film-makers are Smart People who understand the concept of SUBTLE!

Naturally, the protagonist, having eliminated the Prime Meaning, struggles to help his man-child magic corpse appreciate that the true meaning of life is…I don’t know.  This is part buddy movie, part romance, part fever-dream, part never mind, it isn’t worth watching.  These days, even shallow minds quickly grasp what the film-makers are shooting for, deep minds analyze the deeper magic of what’s broken inside the film-makers, and the deepest thinkers start looking for ways the film-makers out clever themselves.

Because a world-view that abandons Truth cannot exist without a myriad of contradictions.  In this case, our autist recreates scenes from his own life, and passes them off as scenes from Dead Radcliffe’s life to jog his memory.  Why?  Doesn’t matter – the purpose is to show the autist building a new life for himself out of garbage.  Which results in long, lingering sequences of beautifully shot trash.  Really, the cinematography, music, and editing are first rate in these slow-motion and lovingly crafted images of pure trash.  Of course, what they’ve done is spit-shine garbage, and at the end of the day, that’s a pretty good metaphor for this whole movie.

Go to Church.  Read the bible.  Say your prayers.  You’ll find the meaning in life that so eludes the makers of this miserable little film.


About Jon Mollison

Jon Mollison was weaned at the literary knee of Tolkein, Howard, Moore, and Burroughs. He spent decades wandering in the wilderness of modern genre fiction, wondering when the magic and wonder went out of the world of dragons and space ships. In his darkest hour, he encountered a wise man who handed him the open secrets to crafting works that emulate the stories of the great authors who built the genre. They are easily summarized in but two words: Regress Harder. Now one of the twelve champions of the Pulp Revolution, his self-published works represent a more direct lineage to the tales of action, mystery, romance, virtue, and pure unalloyed adventure than the bland imitations churned out by New York City publishing houses in recent decades.
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