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Men & Chicken/Mænd & høns


Stars: Mads Mikkelsen, David Dencik, Soren Malling, Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Nicolas Bro

Director: Anders Thomas Jensen

“Unique” is a word that is far too frequently misused by reviewers who have cultural axes to grind and refuse to allow even the slightest hint that favoured filmmakers might occasionally (and inevitably?) deliver sub-standard offerings that might damage their claims to be that most marvelous of all moviemaking trademarks – “Auteur”.

For once, however, “unique” is absolutely apt to describe Danish filmmaker Anders Thomas Jensen’s bizarre black comedy that melds elements from The Island of Dr Moreau and Frankenstein and his ilk and adds as, writer and director, his own bizarre take on family relationships that becomes stranger and more addictive as it progresses.

The narrative, eccentric from the start, centres on brother Danes Mads Mikkelsen and David Dencik. The former is a compulsive frequent masturbator, the latter given to frequent projectile vomiting.

They have one thing in common, however – both have harelips. And when – via their father’s will - they learn that are adopted they decide to pause their constant disagreements and head together to the distant island where their father lives.

There they are pitchforked among a slew of seriously strange hare-lipped characters, a bird with human feet and many even stranger strangers and into an increasingly surreal Gothic scenario where they finally discover their scientifically created originsÂ…

Mere (and inevitably skinny) synopsis cannot describe JensenÂ’s truly weird and wacky story. (an elderly woman who is offered cheese as a present prior to having sex with one of the brothers turns out to be lactose intolerant - bad luck personified?).

Jensen's surreal storytelling, effectively decorated with extraordinary performances, notably by the two leading brothers, and a slew of one-of-a-kind visual tropes that grip and surprise from start to finish, melding shocks and black humour into a genuinely one-of-a-kind horror show.

Alan Frank

Denmark/Germany 2016. UK Distributor: Arrow. Colour.
104 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 3, Violence/Horror 3, Drugs 2, Swearing 3.

Review date: 16 Jul 2016