Mads Mikkelson, off the back of huge roles such as Hannibal and as the main antagonist in Casino Royale, leads the cast in this indie Danish comedy, Men and Chicken. The film focuses on two brothers, Elias, played by Mikkelson, and Gabriel, played by David Dencik, who discover that they are adopted. Still reeling from this new information, they travel to meet their new family and to discover more about their past. They couldn’t possibly have imagined what they would find waiting for them.
As the two brothers start to interact with their new found family, they find themselves isolated at first, with their new family resenting the new additions to their less than perfect family. Slowly, Elias starts to integrate in with his step brothers, but Gabriel is left on the side, as he feels he has very little in common with them. As Elias and Gabriel learn more about their true heritage, and discover some shocking news about their biological father, their lives will never be the same again.
The three, unusual half-brothers are played by Danish actors, Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Søren Malling and Nicolas Bro; and they provide strong support to Mikkelson and Dencik. Their unusual conversations, and quirky antics give the film a strange humour. As the events start to take a darker turn, the chemistry between the brothers ensures that the laughs keep coming, and the audience empathises with this bunch of misfits.
The film starts to lose its way towards the end, as it reaches its thought provoking and shocking conclusion. At times, the humour does seem to fall flat, and is often dark at times, and this may put many people off. This is not a standard family drama and this is a family like no other. The film examines family relationships, and what truly makes us human, despite the things that may make us different to society. The audience may start off feeling disconnected and almost judgemental towards these characters, but by the time the credits roll, it has been an emotional journey and a lot of heartfelt sympathy towards the characters.
This film was submitted into the Best Foreign Film category at the Academy Awards, but did not make the cut, which is a shame as it is a strong, powerful film that deserves more recognition. With a limited cinema release, this film may pass many people by, but hopefully it finds its market through some format.
Dir: Anders Thomas Jensen
Scr: Anders Thomas Jensen
Cast: David Dencik, Mads Mikkelson, Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Søren Malling, Nicolas Bro
Prd: Kim Magnusson, Tivi Magnusson
Dop: Sebastian Blenkov
Music: Frans Bak, Jeppe Kaas
Runtime: 104 minutes
Men & Chicken is out on Blu-Ray and DVD now.