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Lasse Spang Olsen
Tomas Villum Jensen
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Mette Louise Holland,
Tomas Villum Jensen
Svend and Bjarne work for a butcher in a small Danish town. Fed up with their boss' arrogance, they decide to start their own butcher shop. After dismal beginnings, an unfortunate accident happens which coincides with a large order of meat. One hasty decision leads to another and soon the business thrives. In the meantime, Bjarne has to deal with his twin brother who has been in coma for years following a gruesome car accident. Written by
[the workers are hanging up a sign]
No. It's crooked again. Are you really unable to see that?
Give me a break. It looks fine
Fine? Is fine okay? I don't think so... let me tell you, you can't drink 19 beers and then judge whether something is straight, I tell you that! Now do it over!
[Bjarne comes out of the car]
It's nice and straight now, huh? It looks fine.
Yeah... Now it's okay. Secure it properly.
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THE GREEN BUTCHERS (Anders Thomas Jensen - Denmark 2003).
How do the Danes keep coming up with these films that are consistently funny, sharply written, exquisitely filmed and filled with great performances? THE GREEN BUTCHERS is a dark and wickedly funny comedy, in many ways the Danish counterpart of EATING RAOUL and DELICATESSEN, but it has more on offer than just laughs or parody.
The film brings us the duo of chronic pothead Bjarne (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) and chronic perspirer Svend (Mads Mikkelsen). Sick of their evil boss, the two pals decide to open their own butcher shop in a small Danish town, but initially business is slow and customers stay away. When an electrician is accidentally locked up and freezes in their meat locker, Svend decides to turn the man's thigh into fillets he promptly nicknames "chickie-wickies." This special dish suddenly has everyone in town flocking to their counter and Svend - unable to resist this sudden leap into popularity - turns into a serial killer with Bjarne acting as his reluctant accomplice. But soon, led by their ex-boss, many people in town are starting to wonder what special ingredients the two men are using.
Without the extraordinary performances by Kaas and Mikkelsen, the film might not have risen above the level of the average black comedy. On paper, the character of Svend might border on caricature but Mads Mikkelsen portrait is that of an earnest, insecure and deeply twisted man, but Mikkelsen manages to make him frightening, funny and moving at the same time. Kaas actually plays a double role, also playing his comatose twin brother Eigil. When watching the film, I never even realized it was the same actor. The other performances are just as wonderful with every character in town refreshingly off-the-hook with some truly wonderful vignettes.
The subject material is - naturally - a bit morbid and the material might not be completely fresh, considering quite a few predecessors that handled the same kind of material, but director Jensen gives it a fresh twist and manages to build some real characters with the strange duo of Svend and Bjarne, with this wonderfully bizarre tale of two social misfits.
Camera Obscura --- 9/10
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