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Director: Nacho Vigalondo
Writer: Nacho Vigalondo
Stars: Anne Hathaway, Jason Sudeikis, Austin Stowell
Review by Gilbert Seah
An eccentric movie is occasionally praised by critics for just being different. But there are films like COLOSSAL (that premiered at last year’s TIFF) and the recent SWISS ARMY MAN that are so weird that they make no sense at all.
SWISS ARMY MAN had a farting corpse dragged around from start to end of the movie. Plain awful, unfunny and senseless. Director Nacho Vigalondo (TIMECRIMES) is given big money with this high flyer starring Anne Hathaway and Dan Stevens, among others. But his eccentric film would be a very hard watch for the commercial moviegoer, less any critic.
The film opens with a little girl witnessing a monster in the playground. The film quickly forwards 25 year years after. This is really funny, similar to the opening sequence of THE LOBSTER, but that is the only scene that gave me a giggle.
The film’s protagonist is a going-nowhere party girl, Gloria (Anne Hathaway) who discovers a mysterious connection between herself and a giant monster wreaking havoc on the other side of the globe, in Seoul, South Korea. Gloria (Anne Hathaway) parties too hard, drinks too much, and does not think about the consequences — that is, until her boyfriend (Dan Stevens) gets sick of her behaviour and throws her out. Unemployed and with nowhere to live, Gloria heads back to her hometown and rekindles a friendship with childhood chum Oscar (Jason Sudeikis), who now runs his dad’s old bar. Dreams of a fresh start are dashed when Gloria slides back into old habits: she drinks till last call every night with Oscar and his cronies (the hilarious Tim Blake Nelson and Austin Stowell), she stumbles home each night via a playground-sandbox shortcut, and she sleeps through each day till it’s time to drink again.
One day (lo and behold!) she emerges from her haze to the news that a giant monster is stomping its way through the panicked metropolis of Seoul.
Why is the film that weird? Gloria has awakened to a different world to discover how the real-life monster movie taking place halfway across the world might be somehow connected to her. The monster mirrors her moves. For example if she falls, so does the monster, killing Koreans on the ground. The segment in which Gloria and Oscar have an all out fight is also total ridiculous.
Vigalodo attempts to blur the lines between fantasy, drama and sci-fi. He only succeeds in dumping all three genres into a cauldron of messy brew.
The special effects of the robot menacing Seoul look like a cheap version of GODZILLA.
Hathaway looks half lost throughout the film. Actors Dan Stevens and Jason Sudeilis are largely wasted.
If things cannot get more ridiculous, Gloria travels to Seoul at the end of the film.
Director Vigalondo makes no effort to get the audience to like any of her characters. His sense of humour is lacking and the film is neither funny nor amusing. The film ends open ended, (not revealed in this review) with an inside joke on the protagonist. Best to give this film a complete miss.
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