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Men & Chicken

Men & Chicken

You don't choose your own familyFeb. 05, 2015 Denmark104 Min.
Your rating: 0
8.6 1,859 votes

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Men & Chicken is a black comedy about two outcast brothers, who by getting to know their unknown family also discover a horrible truth about themselves and their relatives.

Men & Chicken
Men & Chicken
Men & Chicken
Original titleMænd & høns
IMDb Rating6.7 6,952 votes
TMDb Rating6.7 47 votes

(17) comments

  • simonsaysplay01February 7, 2015Reply

    A masterpiece from mastermind Anders Thomas Jensen.

    I don’t often write reviews here, but I just had to write something
    about this film.

    I’m a huge fan of Anders Thomas Jensen, I believe he’s one of the most
    important director/writers in Denmark at the moment. Even though he has
    only directed 3 feature films (all of them excellent), he has written a
    ton of important danish films for the last 20 years or so.

    Men and Chicken (Mænd og Høns) is in my opinion his greatest film so
    far. You are brought into this totally obscure insane world, but you
    are never bored. It is hilariously funny in Jensen’s typical black
    humour way. But in this case also has such a a mysterious and
    interesting story, with bizaare characters. How did a man come up with

    This film is genius, might not be for everyone, but wow is this film
    just amazing. I just hope we don’t have to wait another 10 years for
    his next film.

  • law-turleyJuly 9, 2015Reply

    Another ATJ masterpiece of black humour…and insanity

    OK. Admittedly, I’m biased. I’m an enormous fan of Anders Thomas
    Jensen’s movies and pretty much adore everything he’s ever made or been
    even tangentially involved in, but up until now I was very firmly of
    the belief that ‘Blinkende Lygter’ was and would always remain my
    favourite of ATJ’s movies. That was until I saw ‘Mænd & Høns’ and fell
    completely and traitorously in love.

    A perfect balance of black (oh god so so black) humour and pathos, this
    movie is a testament to ATJ’s wonderfully deft touch with both. The
    characters, surreal and ridiculous as they are, are played with such
    humanity and conviction, that one cannot help but love them all, every
    last weird, disgusting one of them. As dual-lead, David Dencik is both
    loathsome and pathetically lovable as Gabriel. Nicolas Bro is a delight
    as always as the loquacious over-sharing Joseph, as is an almost
    unrecognisable Søren Malling as Franz. However, whereas it’s normally
    Nicolaj Lie Haas that takes the comedic football and runs uncontested
    for the touchline, ‘Mænd & Høns’ is (definitely) Mads Mikkelsen’s
    movie. As the compulsively masturbating, bombastic Elias, Mikklesen
    reaps the lion’s share of the comedic lines, delivering them with such
    incredible timing and bravado you can’t help but think he missed his
    vocation when he opted for a career as leading-man heart-throb over
    bumbling idiotic funnyman.

    I can’t say enough good about this film. Watch it as soon as a UK
    release is available. Talk about it until there is. Petition your local
    cinemas. Buy ‘Mænd & høns’ t-shirts and bore your friends. I know I

  • kentfx-1July 10, 2015Reply

    Fabulous film; mistranslated title

    As good a film as I’ve seen in years; I can’t wait to start dragging
    friends over to watch it with strong cheese and beer.

    I do have a serious question about the title, though. Translated into
    English, the Danish title would be ”Men and Hens”, which is ambiguous
    and quite amusing. Instead, someone at the distribution end renamed it
    ”Men and Chicken”, which at first glance just looks like bad English
    (shouldn’t there be an ”s” at the end?), and at second glance hints at

    Is that really the best way to sell a clever and serious film with very
    dark philosophical overtones?

    Regardless, anyone who likes thoughtful and utterly unexpected twists
    in their stories should see ”Men and Hens”. You’ll love it.

  • krycek19July 13, 2015Reply

    Really stupid twisted not very funny comedy

    *** This review may contain spoilers ***

  • Brap-2September 17, 2015Reply

    TIFF 2015 — Men & Chicken (Mænd & høns): Actually worth the surprising story

    Anders Thomas Jensen has been known for spawning very creative stories,
    ones that are arguably designed for the absurd. Even if this is the
    case, there’s an underlying genius to what he has created with ‘Men and
    Chicken’ (Mænd & høns). Whatever the idea might have been, it came
    together in the end perfectly.

    The story revolves around two brothers from Denmark who suffer from
    grotesque appearances and other mental issues that hinder them on a
    daily basis. While one brother, Gabriel, is a University professor who
    can’t maintain a relationship, the other is the loose-cannon, Elias
    (phenomenally played by Mads Mikkelsen), who also has relationship
    issues and can’t seem to go more than an hour without having to gratify

    The brothers learn from their now deceased father that he was not their
    biological father, that the real one is a Geneticist who specializes in
    Stem Cell Research, fathered both men with different women, and that he
    resides on a remote island. While this excites Gabriel at first due to
    his assumptions that him and Elias could not be related, they embark on
    a journey that reveals their true family history. They find out that
    they have three other half-brothers who live on the remote island, and
    surprise surprise, they have similar features. While Elias is able to,
    say, communicate with the loners of the island in far less civilized
    methods, Gabriel attempts to help improve their ways of problem solving
    by talking and not by hilarious slapstick comedy beatings.

    It seems as if the story gets its inspiration from Kafka’s ‘The
    Metamorphisis’. So very ”Kafka-esque” (‘Mission Hill’ reference). I’ll
    let that idea sit with you.

    The film breaks the barriers of creativity in storytelling from both a
    comedic and dramatic perspective. It opens and closes as if reading a
    kids storybook, the musical score has a certain creepy feel to it, and
    the makeup and design all around was made to give the characters a worn
    down and dirty look that couldn’t have possibly been any better.

    What was really fantastic about the film was despite the absurdity, the
    story really gelled into something of substance and quality. It told us
    that aren’t able to choose our family, and that being different is the
    best thing in the world.

    The film ends on the note that every life — be it creature or human,
    ugly or pretty, fat or skinny — is truly a small miracle. Things happen
    that are out of your control, and when you learn about what who you
    really are, it is possible to find comfort and acceptance.

    ”For the very simple reason that life is life, and that the alternative
    is not preferable.”

  • kosmaspOctober 4, 2015Reply

    Chicken and Egg … I mean Men

    I don’t even know where to begin with this. It’s so far out, that if
    you’re not expecting what is going to happen (as in not having seen the
    trailer or read the synopsis), you’ll be blown away. Though even with
    some knowledge this should work wonders on ones brain. Just the fact
    that Mads Mikkelsen is in it, should be enough for anyone who’s not
    familiar with the other cast members or the director to give it a go.

    Having said that, the humor won’t be everyones taste. Actually some
    might not even consider many things happening as funny. They might
    label them with other things and words. But if you like humor that is
    quite quirky and weird, you will relish and cherish this. Although I
    wouldn’t say the movie can be viewed as big twist movie, I didn’t see
    things coming … even the ones that were right there to put together!

  • Bene CumbOctober 10, 2015Reply

    Wtf! reactions and giggling through tragicomic environment

    In recent decades, in the West, it has been difficult to create a
    production where ”variously challenged” persons are subject to irony,
    mockery, with characteristic violence and non-piety. The US is probably
    out of the question already, only Brits and Scandinavians have still
    dared to create something different within the subject mentioned. Mænd
    & høns is another fine example of them, with excellent script and
    direction (Anders Thomas Jensen) and strong ensemble cast (virtually
    all performers belong to the finest contemporary Danish film actors)
    have provided a meaty and distinct result.

    True, not all characters are at the same level, e.g. Søren Malling and
    Nicolas Bro could not reveal their talent in full, but David Dencik,
    Mads Mikkelsen and Nikolaj Lie Kaas were brilliant again – and in such
    different roles! No villains, no clerks, no policemen… Those not
    acquainted with those names should definitely see other films with
    their presence – to realise how versatile actors they are.

    It is evident that some social strata may feel themselves affected and
    somewhat resentful, but the film should not be taken too seriously.
    However, it contains multiple warnings and attitudes that can/should be

    All in all, another good Danish film, recommended to them fond of
    twisted humour connected with society-related stuff to be pondered on
    and over.

  • raven-64-833785November 8, 2015Reply

    Twisted Danish Comedy Blockbuster

    Frequent beatings with cast iron skillets and hard stuffed animals,
    eugenics experiments gone tragically awry, and five brothers with a
    propensity for extremely odd and deviant behavior, all combine in a
    twisted Danish comedy blockbuster. Receiving news of their father’s
    death, brothers Gabriel and Elias reunite after a long period of not
    contacting each other. They set out to collect the body from a remote
    and sparsely populated island and dilapidated mansion with free-
    roaming chickens, goats, sheep and three brothers they never knew they
    had. None of the siblings is playing with a full deck, yet the one
    language they have in common is violence. Their attempts to reconcile
    are hilarious and result in childish fights over insane rules, cheese,
    who gets a plate with their favorite animal on it, beatings with
    rolling pins as well as a stuffed beaver, and memorable trips to town
    to find women. Every subject is fair game for humor including kids,
    science, hygiene, families, politics, the sick and dead, elders,
    animals, the handicapped, gender, sex and more.

    This really warped and genuinely funny film is truly an original. It is
    an antidote to the same old gruel from the traditional studios. The
    soundtrack, including music from vibrating saws, is a perfect
    accompaniment to the bizarre behavior of this non-traditional and wacky
    family. The acting is well done. Yes, that is Mads Mikkelsen! The only
    drawback is the difficulty in translation and a wish that the film was
    longer. Real life inspiration for the film included the director’s four
    kids, who fought over animal plates as the brothers do on screen. Seen
    at the Toronto International Film Festival 2015.

  • johnwiltshireauthorJanuary 15, 2016Reply


    I should start off by saying that I’m not a lover of quirky movies–
    art-house or indy or weird. John Wick is my favourite film. Having said
    that, I loved this. The film is just funny. I watched an interview with
    the director and he claimed it played on an ”English” sense of humour.
    I agree. Only the English get English humour, so I’m not sure everyone
    would find this as amusing as I did. The comedy is in an expression or
    a tiny throwaway line. In some crazy ways it reminds me of The World’s
    End, the movie with Simon Pegg about a group of ageing men trying to
    regain their youth. In both movies you have the leads playing it
    totally straight, which only goes to emphasise the utter madness going
    on around them (in the Simon Pegg movie it’s killer robots and in Men &
    Chicken it’s…well, men with chickens, but you get my point). We start
    out with two slightly odd men (Mads’s character Elias in particular)
    only to descend step by step, when they meet their other brothers, into
    total madness and chaos, which only gets funnier and funnier as your
    basis for judging madness slips and slips. I’m not sure which scene I
    liked more, the trip to the kindergarten to get rehired (I wouldn’t
    hire these men as suicide bombers let alone to work with kids) or the
    one to pick up ”girls” in an old people’s home. This is one I’ll watch

  • planktonrulesMarch 19, 2016Reply

    So strange and so disturbing it practically defies description!

    If I had to sum up this film, it’s like an unholy mating of ”The Island
    of Dr. Moreau”, the odd Alan Bates film ”King of Hearts” and perhaps
    ”Eraserhead”! It’s twisted and strange film from Danish filmmaker
    Anders Thomas Jensen…that’s for sure.

    When the film begin, Gabriel (David Dencik) is at his father’s
    deathbed. His other son, Elias (Mads Mikkelsen) arrives too late.
    However, their father left a videotape for them both to watch upon his
    death. In the tape, he reveals that their mother and father are not
    their biological parents and that their biological father is an elderly
    man living on a desolate island in the south. The brothers both agree
    to travel there and see if they can see this man. However, the trip
    will not be easy, as Elias is a very, very strange man with a strong
    psychosexual compulsion to masturbate or score with women…though as
    the film progresses it appears as if his prowess with women is in his
    strange mind.

    When they arrive at a dilapidated old sanitarium where their biological
    father is said to reside, Gabriel is greeted with incredible hostility.
    His three previously unknown brothers who live there attack him and
    beat him severely and with no provocation. In many ways, they behave
    like animals. Later, the pair return and Gabriel encourages Elias to
    take a try in talking to this weird trio. We soon understand
    why….Elias is just as violent and insane as they are! After besting
    the three in a very violent meeting, Gabriel and Elias are allowed in
    to see this ultra-bizarre place. Apparently the hospital was closed
    decades ago and these three mentally challenged and weird men formed
    their own odd social structure based on who can beat the others
    senseless. What’s more, the place is a filthy mess…with farm animals
    in most every room and decay all about the place. There also are
    indication that at least some of the brothers have been making amorous
    advances towards some of the animals! To make it even stranger, if it’s
    even possible, every time Gabriel asks to see their father, his newly
    discovered brother, Franz, gets violent and threatens to lock them in
    cages! What’s really going on here and why is it that all five brothers
    seem to possess various sorts of strange genetic disorders? To find out
    more, I suggest you see the film…though I promise you the answers
    will be rather awful and a bit disturbing!

    Well, if you do see this one, don’t say I didn’t warn you…it’s
    incredibly strange and is not for the squeamish. It also answers a
    question that fans of the television series ”Hannibal” have been
    asking….”What will Mads Mikkelsen do now that the show has been
    canceled?!”. Well, I’ll tell you…in many ways he’s just made a film
    that makes ”Hannibal” look amazingly normal!

    So there you have it…the gauntlet’s been thrown. Do you dare try this
    strange Danish film? And, if you do, what do you make of it and its
    ultra-strange plot?! As for me…I still don’t know what I think of
    it!! I do know that the acting is extremely good (particularly by
    Dencik who manages to more than hold his own opposite Mikkelsen) and
    the film deserves kudos for being unique!

  • kitatbroApril 23, 2016Reply

    Brought me to tears

    *** This review may contain spoilers ***

  • HorrorliefhebberApril 24, 2016Reply

    A little odd film.

    *** This review may contain spoilers ***

  • Dave McClain ([email protected])May 15, 2016Reply

    ”Men & Chicken” is an odd, but engaging mixture of influences.

    Mads Mikkelsen has had quite an interesting career so far. What? You
    don’t know who he is? That must mean that you’re not up to date on your
    Danish cinema, or you don’t like James Bond, or don’t watch much TV… or
    all three. Mikkelsen is a Danish actor who is probably best known in
    the U.S. for playing the title character in NBC’s ”Hannibal” – and as
    the villain Le Chiffre in the 2006 Daniel Craig-led Bond reboot ”Casino
    Royale”. But, like most successful actors, Mikkelsen had to work his
    way up to such notable parts. As a young man, he spent ten years as a
    ballet dancer. In the mid-1990s, he began acting in high-profile films
    and TV shows in his native Denmark. The New York Times calls him ”a
    face of the resurgent Danish cinema”. Public opinion polls often crown
    him the sexiest man in Denmark, while his acting talent has earned him
    numerous Best Actor awards at film festivals around the world. More
    recently, in 2014, Mikkelsen played a Danish immigrant in the American
    West in the excellent, but underseen ”The Salvation”, and in 2015, he
    appeared in one of Rhianna’s music videos. 2016 has him in Marvel’s
    ”Doctor Strange” and ”Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”. Very interesting
    indeed. ”Interesting” is an appropriate but more loaded term when us to
    describe Mikkelsen’s film ”Men & Chicken” (NR, 1:44).

    Mikkelsen stars as Elias who, along with his half-brother, Gabriel
    (David Dencik), seems a little short-changed in the brains department –
    and NO-changed when it comes to looks and social skills. When their
    father dies, they learn that they were both adopted and that their
    biological father lives on the tiny (fictional) Danish island of Ork.
    When Elias and Gabriel go to Ork in search of their father, they come
    across three more half-brothers, Gregor (Nikolaj Lie Kaas), Franz
    (Søren Malling) and Josef (Nicolas Bro), who live together in a
    dilapidated former sanitarium which is overrun by barn animals. And it
    seems that Gregor, Franz and Joseph have the same ”challenges” as Elias
    and Gabriel, if not more so.

    When Elias and Gabriel show up at the home of their other three
    brothers and announce who they are, Gregor, Franz and Josef beat Elias
    and Gabriel. After regrouping at the home of the town’s mayor (Ole
    Thestrup) and his unmarried daughter (Kirsten Lehfeldt), Elias and
    Gabriel return to their brothers’ home the next day to try again to get
    Gregor, Franz and Josef to talk to them. Another beating ensues, but
    Elias and Gabriel turn the tables, leading Gregor, Franz and Josef to
    grudgingly welcome their long-lost brothers into their home. But
    getting to meet their father is harder than Elias and Gabriel expected.

    Getting to know their newfound brothers is no picnic either. Besides
    letting barn animals roam freely throughout their home, Gregor, Franz
    and Josef interact with each other very strangely. They fight over who
    eats off of which plate at dinner, they cuddle together for a bedtime
    story each night, and if any of the brothers breaks a family rule, he
    has to sit in a metal cage outside. Oh, and sometimes the brothers
    change into tennis whites and play badminton on a makeshift indoor
    court. Gregor, Franz and Josef also have an especially unusual
    relationship with the larger animals that live outside the house. After
    being stymied in their efforts to meet their father, Elias and Gabriel
    notice some… unique-looking chickens roaming about, which makes them
    wonder even more about who their father is and what he’s into.

    ”Men & Chicken” is… interesting (in an odd way) and can be
    entertaining… depending on your taste in movies.
    summarizes this film as ”a hybrid of ‘The Three Stooges’ comedy and the
    lunacy of ‘The Island of Dr. Moreau”’. It’s an apt characterization for
    what is a tough film to describe. It includes comic violence, bizarre
    situations, gross-out humor, very dark comedy and even some sweetness.
    It’s fun to see Mikkelsen play so well against type, while the physical
    appearance of all five brothers is both repulsive and magnetic. As
    individuals, each character is a rail car which has gone off the
    tracks. As a whole, this group of people is a train wreck, but it’s
    nearly impossible to look away. Like that proverbial human train wreck,
    you may find yourself wanting to keep watching out of a morbid sense of
    curiosity. Many will find this movie too ”weird”, but some will find it
    irresistible. ”B”

  • Tom DooleyAugust 25, 2016Reply

    Superb Danish Comedy

    Gabriel and Elias are brothers, but they look nothing like each other
    save for a hair lip. Gabriel is a down at heart professor and Elias is
    a man who has a way with the ladies – the wrong one that is and a need
    for a lot of ‘tension relief’. They are both a bit odd – to say the

    Then their father ‘pops his clogs’ (well the film is Danish) and leaves
    the ‘boys’ a VHS message. In it they discover that he is not their
    biological father and that their real daddy lives on some remote island
    and is a bit of a scientist or something. Anyway with no time left to
    lose the lads decide they have to trace their real family – and so the
    fun begins.

    Now this has some belly laugh moments and Mads Mikkelsen seems to
    relish the role. Then so does everyone else too and it must have been
    great fun to make. It is a pretty dark comedy in places but it also has
    a fair smattering of slapstick too. There is also a great story with
    lots of fun, truisms and heart. Written by Anders Thomas Jensen who
    brought us ‘Green Butchers’ and many more – this is one of those films
    that you will tell your friends is a must see.

  • Reno RanganNovember 24, 2016Reply

    Two brothers and their quest to find the truth.

    A strange Danish film. It was a lot like the Danish version of ‘The
    Addams Family’. Written and directed by a screenwriter for the notable
    films in different languages. This is the story of two brothers who
    embark a journey to a remote island after their father died. Because
    they learn they were adopted, so they go to look for their biological
    parents. They end up in a strange house with the strange people, but
    realise how they are related to each other. So the remaining part
    focused on the mysteries surrounding the house. When those things come
    out, the narration reaches its peak and brings the end.

    I think the title should have been ‘Men & Animals’. If you watch the
    film you will know the reason, particularly after the final twist. As I
    had observed, many people liked it, but to me it was average. The idea
    seems very good, but the style was missing. Too ordinary presentation.
    If the approach was atypical like I said ‘The Addams Family’, it would
    have gained more popularity internationally.

    The actors were good, shoot in the good places. Among all, Nikolaj was
    the familiar face. This is not your usual film, yet not for everyone.
    Maybe if you know the language, you might enjoy it better. The subtitle
    translated comedies are not that effective. Feels like I want to like
    it, since it was tagged as a comedy I did not get many laughs. So I
    won’t stop you if you want to try it, but only tell you to be careful
    while choosing it, regarding what you are expecting from it.


  • thisseatofmarsDecember 5, 2016Reply

    Wonderfully twisted and highly recommended.

    Yes, it’s a foreign movie, but relax: it doesn’t suck.

    I find foreign films that become known in NA are generally slow and/or
    pompous. ”Men and Chicken” on the other hand is worthy of high praise
    and whatever Oscar buzz there was surrounding it, whatever or however
    much Oscar buzz is worth.

    Mads Mikkelsen is known outside of Denmark for playing villains, from
    James Bond to Hannibal to a baddie in Kojima’s upcoming ”Death
    Stranding.” I thought ”Men and Chicken” would be a vehicle for
    Mikkelsen, featuring him in every scene, leering like how he does in
    his usual villainous roles: but no. Every actor contributes to the
    whole of the story, and while Mikkelsen plays an eccentric, he does not
    chew up the scenery. I never knew what to think of him before, but
    through this performance I can see he’s really a great actor– not just
    someone with creepy fish lips.

    I’m focusing on him because I know very little about Danish cinema, but
    also because he doesn’t steal the scenes from any of the other players.
    It’s a great movie with great and decrepit scenery, moments, and
    dialogue. Much of it is truly weird, creepy, and very funny: the scene
    at the retirement home is especially excellent.

    Highly recommended.

  • kdanikaaJanuary 26, 2017Reply

    Individual in it’s genre

    *** This review may contain spoilers ***

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