Thursday, 26 November 2020

Men & Chicken

Here's one from Denmark that's off-the-wall, starring the fabulous Mads Mikkelsen and directed by Anders Thomas Jensen from 2015. The original title was 
Mænd & høns and if you're going to give this dark comedy/mystery a go, do so with an open mind and expect mayhem!

Director/writer Anders Thomas Jensen has a long list of credits for projects he's been involved in over the years but I'm afraid to say that none have crossed my path until now. On the back of this, I shall explore more!

It's a bizarre tale about a bunch of brothers. Once we have the eerily reminiscent of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest music out of the way, we join two of the brothers as their father dies in hospital. He leaves them a recording and tells them in it that he is not actually their father after all these years and gives the name of the father and suggests that each of them has a different mother, too! They are now on a quest to track this man down. One of these brothers is a smart academic type, the other, a less-than educated thug only interested is being in the presence of women. And when that happens, he has to sneak off to a convenient place to pull himself off! Hang on though - it's gets even more bizarre.

When they arrive on the island where their father lives, it turns out that there's another three men all claiming to also be sons of the father, guarding the asylum-in-disrepair in which they live, chaotically, it being full of farmyard animals of all shapes and sizes! When the 5 men finally get together and start to piece together the history of what has gone on and who's father is who, who's mother is who, we have started to live with them and spend a good time mainly enjoying their bizarre and quirky character traits.

They are not the only weirdo's on the island as a rich tapestry unfolds around them and various people with various parts of the story allow us to piece it together with them. What transpires is darkly comic and unsettling! I'll say no more. Just be sure to not assume that all is what it seems!

Mikkelsen (Hannibal, The Hunt, Arctic) is fabulous in the lead as he portrays one whacko behaviour after another and the other brothers are equally engaging, played by David Dencik (Chernobyl, Top of the Lake), Nikolaj Lie Kaas (Angels and Demons), Søren Malling The Killing) and Nicolas Bro (DNA, The Killing). I could have watched their mad antics for hours on end!

It's a brilliantly absurd film with deep ripples running though designed to make the viewer increasingly uneasy about what's to come. The discoveries which are made about their background do come along and as they do, it all fits together and makes sense. You'd be hard pushed to find a more strangely interesting tale. It's doing the rounds on Film4 just now. Go grab it!

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