How do I even begin to review this film?!

by Martin Hafer

Welcome to another edition of “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet“…a series of reviews which bring you the strangest and most brain-twisting films on the planet. This installment is about a Danish film that is among the most difficult pictures I’ve ever tried to review. Some of this is because it was so bafflingly strange and perverse and some of it is because I don’t exactly know how to talk about the plot without revealing too much. Regardless, it’s a film best seen by someone with a very open mind…someone who has a high threshold for the ultra-bizarre and disturbing. If I had to sum up this film, it’s like an unholy mating of The Island of Dr. Moreau, the odd Alan Bates film King of Hearts and perhaps Eraserhead! It’s twisted and strange film from Danish filmmaker Anders Thomas Jensen…that’s for sure.

When the film begin, Gabriel (David Dencik) is at his father’s deathbed. His other son, Elias (Mads Mikkelsen) arrives too late. However, their father left a videotape for them both to watch upon his death. In the tape, he reveals that their mother and father are not their biological parents and that their biological father is an elderly man living on a desolate island in the south. The brothers both agree to travel there and see if they can see this man. However, the trip will not be easy, as Elias is a very, very strange man with a strong psychosexual compulsion to masturbate or score with women…though as the film progresses it appears as if his prowess with women is in his strange mind.

Men & Chicken
Directed by
Anders Thomas Jensen
David Dencik, Mads Mikkelsen, Nikolaj Lie Kaas
Release Date
22 April 2016
Martin’s Grade: C+

When they arrive at a dilapidated old sanitarium where their biological father is said to reside, Gabriel is greeted with incredible hostility. His three previously unknown brothers who live there attack him and beat him severely and with no provocation. In many ways, they behave like animals. Later, the pair return and Gabriel encourages Elias to take a try in talking to this weird trio. We soon understand why…. Elias is just as violent and insane as they are! After besting the three in a very violent meeting, Gabriel and Elias are allowed in to see this ultra-bizarre place. Apparently the hospital was closed decades ago and these three mentally challenged and weird men formed their own odd social structure based on who can beat the others senseless. What’s more, the place is a filthy mess…with farm animals in most every room and decay all about the place. There also are indications that at least some of the brothers have been making amorous advances towards some of the animals! To make it even stranger, if it’s even possible, every time Gabriel asks to see their father, his newly discovered brother, Franz, gets violent and threatens to lock them in cages! What’s really going on here and why is it that all five brothers seem to possess various sorts of strange genetic disorders? To find out more, I suggest you see the film… though I promise you the answers will be rather awful and a bit disturbing!

Well, if you do see this one, don’t say I didn’t warn you…it’s incredibly strange and is not for the squeamish. It also answers a question that fans of the television series Hannibal have been asking….”What will Mads Mikkelsen do now that the show has been canceled?!”. Well, I’ll tell you…in many ways he’s just made a film that makes Hannibal look amazingly normal!

So there you have it…the gauntlet’s been thrown. Do you dare try this strange Danish film? And, if you do, what do you make of it and its ultra-strange plot?! As for me…I still don’t know what I think of it!! I do know that the acting is extremely good (particularly by Dencik who manages to more than hold his own opposite Mikkelsen) and the film deserves kudos for being unique!