Directed by Anders Thomas Jensen
5th – 11th August 2016
Reviewed by Colin Serjent
This is an oddball movie with a definite capital O!
Danish director Anders Thomas Jensen has created a film which is often weird, obscene, violent and refers to the, some might say, taboo subject of interspecies relationships. There is also the odd splash of dark humour as well.
Two maladjusted brothers Gabriel and Elias discover, upon the death of their father, that they are not his sons. They then make a journey to a remote island in Denmark to seek out their real dad. They end up in a ramshackle large house, inhabited by three men and many animals, including lots of chickens. It is evident that the trio are stepbrothers.
After several bruising encounters between the five of them – cartoon violence reared its ugly head again in a film – they start to interact with each other of sorts.
But Gabriel and Elias are mystified as to why they are not permitted to see their dad, who is lying ill in bed, or so it seems!
Jensen has commented that Men and Chicken is ‘a fable-like ode to humanism and tolerance’ but that sounds like pseudo-speak. In fact it is concerned with very coarse sexuality and glib references to human conduct.
The film is not an easy watch. It is often cruel and bitter in tone. It does not have many redeeming aspects in regard to human interaction with the animal kingdom. The animals emerge with more redeeming features than the so-called superior Homo sapiens.