>>> Men & Chicken is a stew of slapstick and grotesque

Mads Mikkelson proves a master of comic weirdness

MEN & CHICKEN (Anders Thomas Jensen). Subtitled. 104 minutes. Opens Friday (May 20). See listing. Rating: NNNN

If you only know Mads Mikkelsen as the suave villain of Casino Royale or the latest incarnation of a certain Lecter in the Hannibal TV series, Men & Chicken will let you see him in a very -different light.

Writer/director Anders Thomas Jensen casts Mikkelsen and David Dencik as Elias and Gabriel, brothers whose deeply eccentric lives are upended by the revelation that the man who raised them was not their father. 

Setting off for the island of Ork to trace their parentage, they quickly discover they have three brothers living in a decrepit sanitarium while their elderly father putters around upstairs. And as Elias and Gabriel are about to discover, it only gets weirder.

I’m describing the set-up of a horror film, and Men & Chicken could have played that way with a tiny shift in tone. But Jensen, who directed Mikkelsen in The Green Butchers and wrote After The Wedding for him, knows his star can underplay the horror and go for laughs instead.

The result is the finest deadpan slapstick grotesquerie. The more Elias and Gabriel learn about their family history, the more they suffer – and the funnier Men & Chicken gets. 

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