Thursday, October 27, 2016

[Review] Men & Chicken

Do you like weird? Do you like Mads Mikkelsen? Then you'll love this oddball Danish black comedy, Men & Chicken. It's a mirthfully unappealing film, if that makes any sense at all.

Gabriel (David Dencik) and Elias (Mikkelsen) are two outcast brothers with "abnormal" facial features. Gabriel is a weary professor, while Elias is an unsavory scoundrel (he jerks off in a bathroom stall after a meeting with his therapist). But if you think that's bizarre, wait until you meet their estranged half-brothers!

After their father dies, Gabriel and Elias discover some surprising truths about their family and set out to find their reclusive siblings, who are a cranky and unhinged bunch. They frequently beat the crap out of each other with blunt objects (some of which include taxidermied creatures), and I doubt they've gone through concussion protocol. They also dwell in a giant, run-down mansion that's populated with livestock. It's like an indoor farm. Oh yeah, and some of the animals are hybrids.

For all its intentionally pukey and nauseating tendencies, this thing is greatly filmed and framed--sporting some provocative shots of the junkyard landscapes and exquisite views of the rustic mansion. Between the dimly-lit, deteriorating interior and its cold, antiquated, and uncomfortable qualities--it's more of a dungeon than a home. But it's highly detailed and somehow artful, sort of like the foreboding living quarters in Taika Waititi's vampire comedy What We Do in the Shadows.

Directed by Anders Thomas Jensen, Men & Chicken is definitely a one of a kind experience. It's a darkly funny fable with hints of gross-out horror, warped scientific experiments, head-scratching antics, and twisty mysteries. There's even a tragic layer of sympathy and heart beneath it all. And Mads Mikkelsen--he's no stranger to audacious roles, but this is certainly one of the quirkier ones, and he does it very well. I think it's safe to say that it's probably quite different compared to his upcoming blockbuster turns in Doctor Strange and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Anyway, you might actually enjoy spending some time with this family. From a distance, of course.

( 8/10 )

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