• Men & Chicken



    Released by: Drafthouse Films
    Released on: October 25th, 2016.
    Director: Anders Thomas Jensen
    Cast: Mads Mikkelsen, David Dencik, Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Søren Malling, Nicolas Bro
    Year: 2016
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    The Movie:

    Danish director Anders Thomas Jensen’s new film Men & Chicken introduces us to brothers Gabriel (David Dencik) and Elias (Mads Mikkelsen) on the day of their father’s death. What he left to them, in his passing, was a videotape. Watching said tape, they find out the man they knew as their father actually was their adoptive father and that they are actually only half-brothers, having different mothers. Both of their mothers, strangely, “died during childbirth.” Gabriel and Elias are both a bit off, Elias a bit more so, so Gabriel finds a small sense of satisfaction in the discovery that they only share one parent. Still, together, they decide to start the journey to find out about their real father.

    That journey brings them to an old sanitarium on the Island of Ork which is their father’s home. They find out that they have several other half-brothers who are even odder than they are, both in behavior and appearance. The head of the bunch, Franz (Søren Malling), informs Gabriel that their father is ill and he will have to wait a while to see him. Elias fits right in with his newly found brothers, while Gabriel works to try to improve them. Brothers Gregor (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) and Josef (Nicolas Bro) pretty much do what Franz tells them to, but they are both intelligent, despite their absurdity, and feel Gabriel might be able to help them, even if it is just to “get girls.” Wandering about the grounds, as well as inside the house, is a bizarre assortment of animals equaling that of the brothers.

    For several days, Franz continues to tell Gabriel that their father is still too unwell for visitors, so, frustrated, Gabriel and Elias break into his room one night. What Gabriel finds out there, about his father and his “work” only adds to the insanity of the film. Gabriel chooses to leave the home, and leave Elias behind, but is, of course, drawn back “for the sake of the family.” Unity is a recurring theme in a lot of Jensen’s films- including Adam’s Apples, The Green Butchers and Flickering Lights- and in Danish films in general.

    Men & Chicken had a limited release in the US, and as such, I expected the humor in it to be a bit more universal. I thoroughly enjoyed its dark humor, but the pacing may be a bit slow for some that are not familiar with Jensen’s other films. Personally, I’ve found this allows for a lot of character development and buildup of the story, and Men & Chicken is a twisted one. The wackiness of the characters is consistent and the acting, all around, is great. I really liked the look and feel of the film as a whole; like a demented fairy tale along the lines of the Brothers Grimm. The locations were quaint and beautifully shot, well in contrast with the brilliantly nonsensical nature of the story.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Men & Chicken, released by Drafthouse Films, includes both a Blu-ray version and a DVD version as well as a digital copy. The Blu-ray disc is Region A encoded and presented in AVC encoded 1080p high definition at 2:35:1 widescreen with Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound audio. The DVD is Region 1 encoded and also 2:35:1 anamorphic widescreen again with Dolby 5.1 audio. There is a lot of attention to detail, especially evident in the filming locations and the sanitarium/home especially, that shines through in the picture. The authenticity of the building suggests it’s been through a lot and its shadows seem to hold many stories that will remain untold. Audio on both discs is in Danish with English subtitles, run time is 104 minutes. Sound is crisp and clear and levels are consistent. No video or audio flaws throughout.

    Included in this set is a 24 page full color booklet with a director’s statement and behind the scenes photos. Besides the book included, the only extra is a trailer for Men & Chicken, trailers for a handful of other Drafthouse Films titles, and the digital download. Menus and chapter selection are provided on both discs.

    The Final Word:

    Overall, if you are a fan of Danish black comedies, especially those of Anders Thomas Jensen, you’ll really appreciate this one. As much as I enjoyed watching it, I feel like I appreciated the cleverness of it even more after a night of it settling into my brain. Men & Chicken is a whole lot of silliness, but, as with many Danish films, there is a heartwarmingly underlying message of loyalty that makes this film make you feel good about human nature and the world in general.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!









    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      Those screenshots definitely make it look wacky.