Men & Chicken

| October 26, 2016

Two brothers, Gabriel (David Dencik) and Elias (Mads Mikkelsen; Hannibal TV Series), find themselves a bit lost when their father suddenly dies from a prolonged illness.  In his will, he reveals to the brothers that he is not their father; that their real father lives in a small island community.  When Gabriel and Elias decide to make the trip to meet their father, they discover that he’s sick and being hidden away by his three other sons: Franz (Soren Malling), Josef (Nicolas Bro), and Gregor (Nikoloj Lie Kass).

I’ve never seen a film quite like Men & Chicken.  Though it does hit on a lot of my personal film preferences.  It’s a dark comedy, it has a small cast, and it has a somewhat singular setting.  On top of all that, it’s completely absurd.  The way the brothers interact is absolutely barbaric, attacking strange visitors with washing bins and 2x4s, arguing over who eats off which plate, and insisting on all sleeping in the same bed after story time.  While Gabriel tries to bring some civility to the house, Elias embraces the lifestyle his new-found brothers live.  It’s all pretty insane but watching the brothers fight and argue bible verses and lock each other in cages is where most of the comedy comes from.

It has to be said that Mads Mikkelsen is fantastic in this role.  I’ve never seen him play a comedic weasel like Elias, driven purely by his need for sex and family, socially awkward and ill-tempered.  It was a lot of fun to watch him play so completely against type and pull it off so effectively.  Especially with how much I enjoy watching him play the ruthless and cunning Hannibal Lecter.  It’s difficult to imagine the two characters meeting, and while I’m sure eating Elias would be beneath Hannibal, if he tried, he might be surprised to be beaten over the head with a rolling pin.

It’s even more impressive that the rest of the cast isn’t overshadowed by Mikkelsen.  Dencik assumes the role of the pretentious Gabriel very well, Malling’s Franz is wonderfully complicated in his loyalty to his eccentric father, Bro as Josef is completely adorable, and Kaas’ portrayal of the simpleton Gregor is really sweet, though desperate.

All around, the tone these characters help create is amazingly entertaining and a completely unqiue movie watching experience.  Check it out if you have the opportunity.

Available now on Blu-ray and DVD from Drafthouse Films.

About the Author:

Joe Sanders Joe Sanders is a podcaster, playwright, and college instructor in Kalamazoo, MI. He has a master's degree in playwriting and a bachelor's degree in creative writing from Western Michigan University, where he currently teaches thought and writing, and is the host of the Quote Unquote Guilty podcast, part of the Word Salad Network.
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