Poultry & Prejudice

Mads Mikkelsen is a natural weirdo in Men & Chicken

Film | by Jorge Ignacio Castillo

chicken

Men & Chicken
RPL Film Theatre
August 11-14
3 out of 5

The best place to find shelter from sequels and remakes is foreign cinema. The exploration of topics Hollywood wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole should be reason enough to take the plunge, let alone the possibility of having a truly transformative experience.

The Danish romp Men & Chicken may not be the easiest way in, but it’s outlandish and unapologetic. To put it mildly.

The pitch-black but heartfelt comedy revolves around two socially inept brothers, Gabriel and Elias (David Dencik and Mads Mikkelsen), who discover the man who raised them wasn’t their biological dad. While Gabriel would rather have nothing to do with the family, Elias is curious.

Reluctantly, Gabriel joins Elias on a road trip to their hometown. They find a dilapidated family farm and three more siblings. A considerable amount of “playful” violence leads to some bonding and the discovery of daddy’s homespun genetic experimentation.

Before he became a household name thanks to Hannibal and other high-profile projects, Mads Mikkelsen was drawn to off-kilter comedies, and Men & Chicken fits right in. Director Anders Thomas Jensen has worked with Mikkelsen a number of times and their level of comfort shows, especially considering how casually horrible Elias can be.

Beware: Men & Chicken is not an all-out comedy. At times, it flirts with body-horror, which it does it more effectively than an openly scary movie. It can also be sweet. The one thing it’s not is ordinary.