Empire Live: Swiss Army Man and Imperium

So last weekend I was at the Empire Live weekend at the O2 where I got a chance to meet the star of Swiss Army Man Daniel Radcliffe.

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Daniel Radcliffe was looking a bit under the weather at Empire Live

OK so I didn’t get to meet the man himself but I did see a special double screening of the actor’s two new films with an introduction in person by Daniel Radcliffe himself. I’m pleased to report he was as self deprecating and funny as he comes across in interviews. But what of the films themselves?

Swiss Army Man

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Hank (Paul Dano) is alone on an island and contemplating suicide when a man’s corpse (Daniel Radcliffe) is washed ashore. As he has been isolated for so long Hank develops a weird friendship with the corpse-Manny-who slowly seems to be developing strange powers and may be coming back to life. The two then begin a strange jounrey back to civilisation.

Swiss Army Man is a weird film but as it says itself maybe its OK to be weird and not perfect and to celebrate the ugly things about yourself.

To say that Daniel Radcliffe’s best role post Harry Potter is as a corpse may sound like an insult but he’s truly great as the dead man who seems to be coming back to life. As Hank’s optimism grows so Manny becomes more alive and displays new powers with Dano and Radcliffe make for a hilariously great partnership.

Swiss Army Man is such a strange creature that it manages to make a film about a farting corpse into a heartwarming, life affirming movie. It’s also very funny. But I can also imagine this film will prove to be devisive among audiences. Some will love it and others will hate it. At the Empire Live screening we were given a free bottle of Heineken and it’s probably helped throw me into a film as odd as this.

Rating 4/5 -it’s the best film about a suicidal man and a farting corpse you’ll see all year, high praise indeed!

Imperium

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FBI Agent Nate Foster (Daniel Radcliffe) goes undercover to investigate white-supremacist groups. However Foster is not used to working as a field agent, can he handle the difficulties of maintaining his cover and discovering connections to a posisble bomb plot?

As an FBI agent going undovercover as a Neo Nazi, this does not seem like a natural fit for Radcliffe but then real life FBI agent Michael German (who is the inspiration for this film)  didn’t seem like an obvious choice to go undercover either. In his post Potter career Radcliffe has admirably aimed to go into as many varied roles as possible, which while commendable it has not always completely convinced. However Imperium and Swiss Army Man sees the actor finally come into his own and seem more comfortable in these new roles.

Imperium is a more conventional film than Swiss Army Man and makes a good drama thriller. It won’t hold many surprises for its audience and has over familiar plot beats but is also engaging throughout. The director Daniel Ragussis creates many tense scenes like a rally that discends into violence. The cast is good with Radcliffe convincing in the lead role while Toni Collette also manages to sink her teeth into the role of his superior in the FBI.

Imperium may appeal more to the average cinema goer and won’t be as divisive as Swiss Army Man but it also won’t be quite as memorable.

Rating 3.5/5 – tense and thrilling but lacks originality

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “Empire Live: Swiss Army Man and Imperium

  1. Sounds fun. I was there on Sunday for Marvel Universe.

  2. You’ve summed the two films up beautifully. Imperium was very generic, I was hoping for so much more. Radcliffe is great in both films though.

    • Yes Radcliffe has really turned a corner. I feel like before he was trying to prove himself but wasn’t quite there yet but these two films show how far he’s come since his Potter days.

  3. Firstly, don’t you look nice next to the Radcliffe corpse 😀

    I’ve heard a fair amount about Swiss Army Man over the course of this year and I’ve been curious to see if it is really as outrageous/funny as I’ve heard. As for Imperium I’ve not heard a lot about it but I’ve seen bits and bobs of it online and in the cinema and I’m just curious to see where Radcliffe’s career goes so I’ll try most things that he’s in. Cool write-ups of both films.

    • Thanks! Both the films are worth watching to see Radcliffe give two great performances but Swiss Army Man was by far the better movie. Be prepared for crudeness and fart jokes aplenty though if you do get round to seeing it!

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