BFI London Film Festival: Men and Chicken (Mænd & høns)

Mænd og høns (Anders Thomas Jensen, DK, 2015)
Men and Chicken (Mænd & høns)
Directed by Anders Thomas Jensen
Starring Mads Mikkelsen, David Dencik, Soren Malling, Nicolas Bro and Nikolaj Lie Kaas

by Joanna Orland

The darkest of comedies, Men and Chicken borders on the genre of body horror as the film explores one of the most twisted fictional family trees in Denmark.

An unrecognizable Mads Mikkelsen turns in a bawdy performance as Elias, who along with brother Gabriel (Dencik) go in search of their true parentage.  Their fraternal bond is anything but normal, in fact, this entire film is anything but normal – it is properly sick and twisted in a hilarious but overly disturbing way.  The brothers find their way to the Danish island of Ork where they meet their other three brothers (Malling, Bro and Kaas), all baring the same harelip and other deformities.  These three brothers are anything but welcoming and basically beat the shit out of Elias and Gabriel before accepting them into their fold.  An abusive, animalistic, insane fold.

Vulgar behaviour and imagery are the least of this film’s twisted issues, making Men and Chicken not for the squeamish.  Personally, I felt a bit nauseous watching this film through the scenes of vomiting, oversexualized content and even the grimy filthy sets alone.  The filmmakers have done too good of a job at bringing this horrific world to life!  The actors as well contribute to the vulgarity with ridiculously disgusting performances which are nothing short of incredible.  A selection of Denmark’s greatest dramatic actors have never before been seen like this, and hopefully never again!

While this film is disgustingly nauseating, it is also fascinating and hilarious.  So twisted it made me physically ill, I can no longer look at Mads Mikkelsen as the sex symbol he once was, and probably still is to those who haven’t seen Men and Chicken.  Grotesque and absurd, this is an amazing film, not for the faint of heart.

(for sheer absurdity and pushing the boundaries of tastefulness)

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