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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
De Grønne slagtere or The Green Butchers as it is called in English is
a very dark comedy about two losers who work for a popular butcher.
They are fed up with their bosses criticism and decide to start a
business on their own. Their shop is expensive and it doesn't even have
electricity all over the place. And to make things worse, they haven't
got any customers (as their former boss predicted). When the man pays
them a visit in their shop, he challenges them to provide the meat for
a dinner party he organizes.
Than a tragic accident happens. One of the butchers locks the electrician into the freezing chamber when he closes the shop. The man dies and the neurotic one of the two butchers decides to cut fillets out of the electrician's thigh and serves it to the dinner party instead of calling the police. It's an incredible success. All at once every person in the village wants to taste that incredible "chicken". Overwhelmed by his sudden success the butcher sees no other option but to kill more people, who he can sell as chicken.
I guess that the subject cannibalism may not be enjoyed by everyone, especially not because it is shown with a lot of humor. Personally I liked it a lot. It shows perfectly how far some people would go for some social acceptance and to get out of their isolation. It may sound a bit far-fetched, but I'm sure you would be surprised to see how people in real life sometimes act.
Next to the original subject, I was also pleased by the actors' performances and the humor. There is no overacting, as you might expect in this kind of movies, it's all very sober and realistic (I guess that's typical for the Scandinavians and Scandinavian movies). The same for the humor. I'm sure I wouldn't have liked it as much as I did now if the humor had been over the top, or with a lot of farting, vomiting,... like you see so often in American movies. I loved this movie and I give it an 8/10.
This is, by far, the best movie I've seen in a long while. It is a
wholly original and beautiful plot. It is not boring, nor is it too
dramatic. The characters are tangible and realistic, but it does not
take away from the story line. The fact that is not in English is most
likely the final touch. The end leaves you fulfilled in a way I've
never experienced in a movie before.
I wish I had found this movie earlier.
more lines a lot more lines c'mon, i'm done
Many Americans are lazy, and this has manifested itself even in our DVD-watching. Many of us don't like to take the time to read an hour-and-a-half (or more) of subtitles, so we choose not to see many foreign films. One film that is TOTALLY worth your time, no matter how mundane a task you might think the subtitle-reading is, however, is "The Green Butchers." It's by far the best foreign film I've ever seen, and tops many American films I've seen lately as well. It's a complex situation told in a remarkably simple and funny dialogue. The character depth derived in this film is AMAZING. The way Svend and Eigel (sorry if those are spelled wrong) feed off each other's contrasting personas is downright spectacular! The actors were well-cast, and I'm very much hoping that a sequel is in consideration...it needs very little of Bjorne and what's-her-face...just give me Svend and Eigel on some sort of journey with supporting characters and more amazing dialogue! To the author of this fine screenplay, I say: Write more! The story itself is rather twisted, but you'll find yourself rooting for the bad guy anyhow...with no remorse. PLEASE check this movie out!
With Green Butchers (aka: De Grønne Slagtere) we are in the territory
previously marked out by Sweeney Todd, Eating Raoul, Delicatessen and
the like: art house cannibalism. The peculiar flavour of
writer-director Anders Thomas Jensen's film is partly explained by this
choice of subject, as well as his involvement in the Dogme film
movement, having contributed scripts for Mifune (1999), The King is
Alive (2000), as well as Open Hearts (2002). The Dogme movement has
made a virtue of making films to a strictly naturalistic series of
rules, the severity of which, whether entirely serious or not, was
intended to "force the truth out of characters and settings." Green
Butchers is not a Dogme film, but some of its characteristics owe
themselves to an artistic manifesto which instructed its adherents to
make films by all means available, even "at the cost of good taste" if
It's Jensen's second feature film after the well-received Flickering Lights (aka: Blinkende Lygter, 2000 - a film which also starred Mikkelsen and Kaas), another comedy-drama. Jensen's sly, dry humour is much in evidence here, too, as we follow the business of his two misfit butchers, 'Sweaty' Svend and pot smoking Bjarne, into the path of making meals out of unwanted humans. As critics have observed, this is a film with two intertwined threads, with much overt, and grisly, dark comedy revolving around Sven, a man who "has never been loved." He's apparently unable to show anyone the inside of his freezer without adding them to the chilled cabinet for the customers next morning, prepared as his speciality dish 'Chicky Wicky'. Bjarne's story brings to the narrative more in the way of pathos and sweetness as, while struggling with the predations of his increasingly erratic partner in butchery, he also has to come to terms with the sudden revival of his brain damaged twin brother, as well as burgeoning relationship with the slightly naïve Astrid.
Playing both Bjarne and twin Eigil, Nikolaj Lie Kaas is remarkable in giving entirely separate performances throughout, so much so that I was going to make him a name to watch, but a quick look at his filmography reveals that he has already made 28 (including one related to his portrayal here, the notorious Dogme film Idiots of 1998) of which no fewer than 20 will have appeared in the last five years! The Walkenesque Mikkelsen, who is perhaps most familiar to British and American viewers as Tristan in the recent version of King Arthur, is also memorable, offering up Svend's characteristic, sweaty, culpability whilst sporting an unnaturally high, damp forehead (an on-screen effect gained, we learn, by a watering unit ingeniously devised by the special effects department).
In the interviews which accompany the film on disc, Jensen mentions how keen he was to "make something better than farce" out of his subject matter and, if it has a fault, it is that his film occasional teeters too far in the opposite direction, refusing some obvious opportunities to show the comedy of panic or grim humour. Instead, Dogme's metier means that Green Butchers unfolds slowly, with more natural pauses and silences, and an unforced lunacy all of its own. Such deadpan absurdity frequently pays dividends (one especially relishes Svend's quiet words to the newly returned Eigel, soft toy under his arm, that he should "point the giraffe somewhere else, so that we can talk calmly again") although there have been complaints from some that a sharper edge to the bloody proceedings, other than those demonstrated by Bjarne and Svend's knives, would have been welcome. To be sure, some cannibalistic movies, such as Romero's Dawn Of The Dead bring an apt comment on consumerism. Instead Jensen's film relates slaughter back to interior matters such as Svend's compulsive, murderous need to be loved and successful - a result he eventually achieves through his marinade - or even by placing the act of butchery in a entirely different context outside of society altogether. For instance the comment by Holger, famous for his deer sausages, that "It's mythological to kill an animal and then mock it by sticking it in its own intestine." Outraged by the role that nature played in provoking the death of his parents, Bjarne sees his work as specifically an act of revenge on animals, not people, a logic that places him apart from such characters as Sweeney Todd. While the eager consumers of Chicky Wickys queue up outside the shop eager for their next portion, obvious satire is played down. In interview, the cast and writer see the film's focus elsewhere, on "coming to terms with one's fate," or learning to live at peace with oneself.
Of course interior states are always subjective rather than objective. And if the Dogme creed values strict naturalism, then Green Butchers is a film which, although related to the movement by eschewing overt dramatics, it never the less inhabits a separate, almost fantasy world of its own - another point acknowledged on the DVD's accompanying interviews. It's a place not unaopposed to the fertile and dark imaginations of Caro and Jeunet (to whose successful Delicatessen it has sometimes been compared) if without their Gallic flamboyance, and whose odd elements gradually fit into a weird whole. Indeed the last scene of the film makes the point succinctly, drawing together the principal characters in a moment that is both playful, absurd and unifying at the same time. Given the unique nature of Green Butchers (how often does one see a Danish cannibalism movie?) as well as uniformly excellent performances, it can be recommended.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
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
If you don't mind subtitles, you like comedy and truly interesting
characters, along with a taste of something different from mainstream
American cinema, then take a chance and rent this film.
Two contrasting friends, (one very neurotic sweater, the other the strong quiet loner type) working for a jerk butcher in a smaller danish town, decide to strike out on they're own together and open a butcher shop themselves. Not successful at first they incorporate something new to they're recipe and become an instant hit with the village.
That being an interesting story in itself, this smartly humorous film is laced with even more, (friendship, romance, crime, death, personal tragedy) that makes this film so funny yet riddled with numerous subtle interests that make it so interestingly funny yet warm and fuzzy.
A must mention is the characters created and the actors making them believable. You can have the best script yet if the characters aren't believable it can sink a film and with this, the directing, acting, character believability and story all mesh so well they make this a very entertaining film.
So, if your in the mood to stretch a lil, want to see something very good yet done a bit differently, then I suggest you rent this film while I'm on my way out to find more by director writer Anders Thomas Jensen.
The art of the absurd is alive and thriving in current Danish cinema!
Well, at least it is in this movie. Nobody in this movie are amused.
They are all either annoyed or shocked, and if they aren't yet, they
soon will be! It is a story of screw-ups, murder, embarrassment,
dignity, and, in the end, love and redemption. The chilling, awkward
humorous style is idiomatic and won't appeal to everyone, but
personally I found it to have just the right fascinating mix of the
bizarre and the absurd. You pity the characters from a distance, even
as you dislike them up close and personal. But their story is so tragic
that you find it in yourself to forgive them and be happy for them,
even when they get away with murder.
This is, in my judgment, definitely the best Danish movie of the last few years.
9 out of 10.
Not entirely sure how I stumbled upon this movie, but I'm so glad I did. Initially, we were put off by the fact that it was subtitled, but even my dyslexic brother who hates to read (especially at the weekend) enjoyed this film. I found the script fantastic and the way it was delivered in such a dead-pan manner only added to the puddles of pee on my sofa. Not entirely sure whether it's quite so funny to the native Danish as the comedy seems to be enhanced by the tonelessness of the subtitles and the ambiguity of the translation. I haven't watched many Danish films (or any for that matter), but judging by this film I'm guessing they're not constrained by the same political correctness as elsewhere (gawd bless 'em) making the character of Eigel a breath of fresh air, because let's face it special needs are funny. There are so many great one-liners in this film it puts American sitcoms to shame.
OK, so I'm not usually one that runs out and rents foreign movies...especially foreign dark comedies. I think I can count on one hand the number of films that I found genuinely hilarious from beginning to end. This movie will be added to the short list. Even dark comedies right out of Hollywood sometimes turn me off because they require an incredibly dry sense of humor. But this one had my eyes welling up with tears. My sides hurt. I haven't laughed that hard in a long time. This movie was recommended by my mother and I don't think I would have even dreamed of watching it had she not raved about it. Don't be afraid of having to read during your movie - you'll miss out on a hilariously well-acted flick.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Green Butchers was a very funny Danish Black Comedy about a pair of
losers who decide to set up their own Butcher shop. Their business is
failing and they accidently lock an electrician in their freezer where he
dies. When their former boss comes by to taunt them and challenges them to
provide the meat for a dinner party, the obssessive compulsive one (Svend)
snaps and makes filets out of the electrician's thigh and serves it to the
dinner party. The other butcher (Bjarne) is shocked but goes along with it
thinking it would be a one time thing. Meanwhile, the brother (Eigil) of
Bjarne wakes from a seven year coma and wrecks havoc on Bjarne's life. The
brothers are twins and are played very well by one actor. The dinner is a
success and he next morning there is a line up at the two butcher's place.
Svend is enamoured by the fact people actually like him and wants the
adoration to continue while Bjarne has troubles with his brother and turns a
blind eye to what Svend is doing. Eventually things work out. 8.5/10 If you
liked War of the Roses or Dr. Strangelove I think you'd like this film.
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