Milwaukee Film Festival: Men & Chicken
By Devvon Eubanks
There is nothing like family. While people may connect with friends, co-workers, and love interests, the family unit provides the foundation on which every level of social interaction takes place. But sometimes, families can be dysfunctional...or just plain crazy. “Men & Chicken,” produced by Anders Jensen, is a story about two socially-challenged brothers, Gabriel (David Dencik) and Elias (Mads Mikkelsen), whose father has recently passed away. In their father’s videotaped will, it is revealed that the pair are actually adopted half-brothers and their biological parents live on the Danish island of Ork. Leaving their home to go to the island, Gabriel and Elias go on a journey to discover more about their biological father and to find out just who (or what) they really are. The overall tone and atmosphere of this film is exceptionally dark and foreboding, with heights of hilarious slapstick comedy and dark humor spread throughout. Additionally, Gabriel, Elias, and the long-lost brothers they meet all feel like far-removed relatives of the Addams Family, complete with bashing each other over the head with taxidermied animals and household appliances. These men also display various physical deformities, mental issues, and a major lack of social skills and manners, as they even fight over who gets to eat on certain animal-branded plates during dinner time. But while the brothers do quarrel over ridiculous ideas and situations, it is their infighting and disagreements that bring them together as a family. And all of this hysteria is surrounded by an ominous house filled with shady family secrets, a buried past, and lots farm animals, many of which have rooms as if they are residents. On the whole, “Men & Chicken” is a roller coaster ride of action, emotion, and humor that movingly brings the viewer to care for a charming group of misfits and their antics.