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DANIEL RADCLIFFE AND PAUL DANO SEARCH FOR A WAY HOME IN ‘SWISS ARMY MAN’

Manny doesn’t know who he is

THEY are a strange double act – a dead man and a living man. But then again, they are in a strange situation in the comedy Swiss Army Man, released at cinemas yesterday (Friday 30 September).
Hank (Paul Dano) is trapped on what appears to be a deserted island. He has no way of getting home and he feels helpless.
Then a body washes up on the shore. Hank freezes for several moments before deciding to embark on a long journey home with the dead man (Daniel Radcliffe) in tow.
They begin to form a bond. Hank manages to discover that the corpse has a name: Manny. Moreover, Manny seems to have the ability to talk and think. And – like a Swiss army knife – he can help Hank with a variety of tasks that could help him survive out in the wild.
What Manny cannot seem to do is to remember anything from his past. He doesn’t know who he is or where he came from. He has forgotten what love is. He does not see the point of life. Though Hank finds it hard to believe that he is talking to a dead man, he begins to explain to him how he sees the meaning of life.
The more Manny learns, the more he remembers. He recalls his reason for living: Sarah.
Using waste and washed-up items as props, the surreal pair re-enact the day Manny first saw Sarah on the bus. Manny begins to be rejuvenated. And the more he remembers, the better chance the pair have of getting home. However, Manny isn’t the only one with
problems. Hank has spent most of his young life lonely. The death of his mother left him scarred. He hears from his father only once a year when a birthday e-card appears in his inbox.
Although Hank and Manny are getting to know each other better, what they really need is to get home. They make progress, but along the way, Manny begins to die again. Hank does everything he can to remind Manny of why he has to stay alive. He also recognises that he faces the same kind of choice.
The truth is that anyone can feel stranded. Anyone can feel as if hope has deserted them. Difficult experiences – the breakdown of a relationship, regrets, disappointment – can leave us feeling lifeless.
We worry that if we speak about what we are going through, the people around us won’t understand. Maybe those we counted on are nowhere to be found. But we don’t need to feel helpless.
Jesus described himself as ‘the way and the truth and the life’ (John 14:6 New International Version). He promised that those who put their faith in him would receive guidance in how to navigate their way through life towards God, forgiveness for when they are dragged down by the worst parts of their character and a hope for the future that cannot be defeated.
The life we discover when we turn to Jesus will be available to us not only here but eternally in Heaven. Is it time we handed our life over to him?

The War Cry 1 October 2016

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