One of the hottest tickets at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival is for Swiss Army Man, a bizarre tale about a man (Paul Dano) who befriends a farting corpse (Daniel Radcliffe) after finding him washed up on a shoreline.
Hundreds of eager viewers had to be turned away from its packed debut screening. But for those who made it in, most didn’t make it through.
A slow but steady – and escalating – number of walk-outs occurred over the course of the screening, marking it as one of the most divisive entries in Sundance history. Film writer Matt Dentler nutshelled it in his tweet: “I just watched a 90-minute fart joke, but it was a wholly original one.” Whether that’s an actual endorsement is unclear, but no doubt it’s accurate.
Swiss Army Man – directed by the music video duo Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert – does not yet have a distributor, but given its provocative nature (which includes other sexual elements), some film company will likely give it a shot. Whether audiences do or not will be interesting to track.
To read Variety’s full review, click here.
UPDATE: After seeing this post, film writer for Collider.com and good friend Adam Chitwood provided some much-needed – and eye witness – perspective on these reports from the Swiss Army Man screening. Adam, who was there, was compelled to express how exaggerated these reports of “walk-outs” are. As a veteran of the Sundance Film Festival, Adam says that walk-outs aren’t uncommon, for a variety of reasons. Sometimes its because people are offended, or bored, but often times – especially at premiere screenings – it’s strictly business related. Possible distributors attend these premieres, and if they get the sense that the movie they’re watching isn’t something they want to buy and distribute, they leave before it’s over, mainly in the hopes of catching as many other films in the busy festival slate as possible. That was likely the case with Swiss Army Man. And furthermore, Chitwood says that regarding this actual screening, all reports of a “mass exodus” are wildly overblown, characterizing that hyperbole as crass “click bait” by the industry trade papers (Variety, et al).
To read Adam’s review of Swiss Army Man, click here.