You Need To See This Independent Film: Swiss Army Man

Independent filmmakers are constantly redefining film with powerful, innovative stories, creatives hacks for filming, and more. But the most important thing indie filmmakers should be doing is learning from other indie films, not only to learn but to get to know more of our indie community.

While Swiss Army Man is not a new indie film, it’s still one that not everyone heard about, which I think is a shame. Starring Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe this innovative and edgy look of a man’s journey from deserted island to civilization is sure to leave you speechless.


While some people walked out of the cinema because of the controversial content, I think they missed out on some thought-provoking goodness. That’s the thing about art, it doesn’t always translate. As independent filmmakers this can affect our films more than big budget movies. So if you’re creating a controversial film, learn from other indies who’ve gone before you.

It may seem odd that some of the most thought provoking moments were because of a character’s farts, but they are. The irony in this is how much the directors hate the use of flatchulance for humour in films. Yet, they wrote an entire film around the subject. And it’s brilliant. Which just goes to prove that we can take something we loathe and turn it into something extraordinary.

“The goal was for the film for audiences to step into a film they should hate and be oddly compelled and have a weird feeling in their body.” Daniel Kwan, Director Swiss Army Man


I was completely blown away by the amazing performances by Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe. I’ve been a long time fan of Dano’s so I knew to expect some expert ugly acting on his part, but I was surprised by Daniel Radcliffe’s powerful performance as a corpse come to life. Full of physicality, if for no other reason, watch this film for his portrayal of Manny.


The one area I think this film lacked was in its writing. Some of the themes are too vague and because of this, it does lose some people’s interest. BUT this is also the brilliance of the writing. The film doesn’t lay everything out for the audience in a pretty package, it requires us to dig it out. This is one huge takeaway for every independent filmmaker. Can you create a story that will inspire discussion?

This is where Swiss Army Man suffered a bit because the topics of conversation (like a man’s gas being the source of magical abilities) were too controversial for some. For those of you who can get past the flatulence and to the heart of why the creators picked these conversations I think you’ll discover you actually really love this film and the message behind it.

These are only a few reasons to watch the film. But if you’re still not convinced, watch it for the set dec and practical effects. The simplicity of the effects done in this film are worth watching.

Regardless of what you think of the controversy around it, if you call yourself an independent filmmaker, than you should see it. Pick out what you love. What you hate. What you think was done well and what wasn’t. Learn from the success and failure of Swiss Army Man and in turn create your own innovative film.


  • Charis Joy Jackson

    Producer, Director, Writer, Actress

    Charis Joy Jackson is a writer, director, producer and teacher working with The Initiative Production Company. During the day she makes movies and in her spare time is writing a novel. She's a self-proclaimed nerd who wishes she could live in Hobbiton. You can follow her on Instagram @charisjoyjackson


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