MEN AND CHICKEN

PrintE-mail Written by Courtney Button

Tone can often be the biggest challenge to a director in assembling their film. An odd tone can be even more difficult to balance. While walking on the tightrope of “odd” you have to be careful not to fall into wacky but then you also don’t want to be so weird that you alienate people. You don’t want to be weird for weirdness sake and you certainly don’t want to be trying too hard. Men and Chicken really is best described as odd. Does it walk this thin tightrope carefully? Just about.

After the death of their father, two brothers, Elias (Mads Mikkelson) and Gabriel (David Dencik) find out that he was not their father. They go looking for their biological father, tracking him down to an old asylum, filled with cheese and animals. There they find they have three other brothers and they discover that all of their parentage might not be traditional.

It’s rare to see Mads Mikkelson flexing his comedic muscles. Now most well known as the classy serial killer Hannibal Lector in the fantastic Hannibal TV series, it is a pleasure to see him playing a comedic character. Elias is a blunt and selfish character, a serial masturbator who is dependent on his brother Gabriel. Gabriel is the intelligent and more social brother who happens to have a pronounced gag reflex. Their brothers, Gregor (Nikolaj Lie Kass) the most childlike of the three who wants female companionship, Josef (Nicolas Bro) who is highly articulate and literary minded and Franz (Søren Malling) the head of the three with a predilection to hitting people with stuffed birds are all suitably weird and entertaining. With only a little bit of plot in the film, the truth about the brothers’ true parentage providing a small if easily guessable mystery, most of the film is taken up with a family drama as the five brothers discover each other and come to terms with being related. Luckily, the characters are fun to watch and prove enough entertainment to keep your interest for a lot of the film.

Men and Chicken is dark but its dark humour lies in a vein of absurdity and it never forgets that it is also trying to be entertaining so it doesn’t let a dour tone fall over proceedings. The film has some ideas about God and human genetic meddling which are slightly touched upon but not fully padded out. Its denouement also wraps itself up quite quickly with a dose of sentimentality which doesn’t quite come off but it’s only a slight duff note at the end of a largely enjoyable film.

Men and Chicken is an enjoyably odd film. It has a slightly taxing running time and is a little formless in plot but it is enjoyably strange and surprisingly dark with a cast of entertaining characters from a game cast.

MEN AND CHICKEN / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR AND SCREENWRITER: ANDERS THOMAS JENSON / STARRING: DAVID DENCIK, MADS MIKKELSEN, NIKOLAJ LIE KAAS, SOREN MALLIN, NICOLAS BRO / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW 
 


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