It’s fair to say there’s nothing out there quite like Danish director Anders Thomas Jensen’s warped comedy Men and Chicken.
When chronic masturbator and sociopath Elias (Mads Mikkelson) and intellectual, troubled brother Gabriel (David Dencik) lose their father, they realise he wasn’t their real dad… moreover, the woman they thought was their mother was someone else entirely. And are they really brothers?
Thus begins a quest to find out where they really came from, which takes them to a massive burned-out house in a strange island populated by brothers with harelips, who, it is safe to say, haven’t been socialised properly, and a whole menagerie of animals.
Warped is one way of describing this brilliant, funny, chilling and incredibly grotesque film. It’s as though somebody took Tom Waits’ What’s he Building? and filtered it through a real-life Looney Tunes cartoon, with visuals by Czech surrealist Jan Svankmajer.
Except this is Danish, with very bone-dry Scandinavian humour; livestock, beatings, nefarious plans, beatings, strange philosophies,”cheese irregularities”, beatings, rolling pins, beatings, beatings, and more beatings with stuffed animals.
It’s impossible to categorise, easy to warm to, and as sick as it is oddly moral and tender, with superb performances across the board and wonderful twists which leave jaws dropping. Jensen has an assured, visually arresting style, which is pacy and creepily inventive.
A real original. If you don’t like it,”you’ll go in the cage”. You have been warned, now… don’t make me break out the stuffed squirrel…
At CCA, Glasgow on Thursday, 25th February at 1.15 pm