Over the next few weeks, our man in Melbourne, Sean W. Fallon, will be covering the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) and reviewing some of his favourite movies that he catches there.
Overview: Two Danish brothers travel to an island when they find out that there father is not their father, and that they may have more family than they thought. Drafthouse Films; 2016; Not Rated; 104 minutes.
Defying Description: Sometimes when we talk about a movie the easiest way to describe it is to say that it’s like something mixed with something. Or it’s like a certain movie if that movie was directed by someone totally and tonally different from the original director. This can be good or it can be a cop out, and sometimes it can be absolutely necessary. Men & Chicken is one of those latter cases.
Men: First, let me give you some background. In the movie, Mads Mikkelson and David Dencik play a pair of very different brothers. Dencik’s character, Gabriel, is a college professor who has been unlucky in love and is prone to dry retching now and then. His brother, Elias (Mikkelson), is introduced in the movie on a blind date with a therapist, who he has only gone on the date with so he can get her opinion on a recurring dream he is having about a giant bird with his brother’s face that he keeps dreaming about raping. Oh, and midway through the date he excuses himself to go and masturbate in the bathroom.
Their father dies and they find a videotape of him revealing that they are not his children but the children of a scientist who lives on an island with a population of 40. They visit the island and encounter their three anti-social half-brothers who are, like Gabriel and Elias, afflicted with hair lips and general ugliness. Hijinks ensue.
Chicken: I would describe this movie as being like if the Farrelly Brothers directed The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Or if David Cronenberg directed an American Pie movie. It’s an odd mix of slapstick comedy, body horror, gross-out teen jokes, and Scandinavian weirdness. The slapstick violence sprinkled throughout made me think of Wile E. Coyote or the British show, Bottom. The brothers inflict constant injury on each other with very little repercussions even if the sounds and implements used would make you think otherwise.
The twist towards the end feels like one that may turn some people off this film as it descends into full madness but there was something very fitting about it. I would love to talk more about it but this is a movie that you need to see to believe and I wouldn’t want to spoil anything.
Overall: The stand out in this movie is Mads Mikkelson. I know him mostly from Hannibal where is he all cool, calm, and collected, so to see him with a bad trimmed moustache, stupid hair, and constantly masturbating is both jarring and a testament to how well-suited Mads is for comedy. This movie is fantastic and needs to be experienced by as many people as possible, if they can stomach it that is.
Featured Image: Drafthouse Films