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Off-beat Danish horror, directed by Anders Thomas Jensen. Disfunctional butchers Bjarne (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) and Svend (Mads Mikkelsen) decide to open up their own butcher shop after becoming sick of their bullying boss. But when the inept duo become involved in an accidental death, they make a hasty decision to cover it up. Before long, they are regularly serving up mysterious 'speciality' meat, but when the growing numbers of missing persons in the town begins to raise suspicions, all eyes turn to them.
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The satire revolves around two misfit butchers, `Sweaty' Svend (Mads Mikkelson), and the pot smoking Bjarne (Nikolaj Lie Kaas), who've become disgruntled with being employees and so take the risky decision to buy an empty property and set up their own business and become rivals with their ex-employer, Holger, who sells deer sausages and believes: 'It's mythological to kill an animal and then mock it by sticking it into its own intestine'.
When an electrician turns up late one evening to fix problems in the freezer `Sweaty' Svend haplessly locks the door on his way out and discovers the frozen corpse in the morning. In a state of panic both butchers decide to chop up the body and soak the meat in the marinade Svend uses for his speciality dish, `Chicky Wicky'. Due to the success of his creation and not wanting to disappoint the eager customers or his savage inferiority complex, Svend is now apparently unable to show anyone the inside of his freezer without adding them to the chilled display cabinet the following morning.
The unforced lunacy of the characters filled with deadpan absurdity culled from the comic ingredients of cannibalism and retardation is very tasty, but Jensen's real success is how cleanly he serves up his delicious story: developing strong likeable characters, infusing dialogue with thematic meaning and binding everything together with a tight, breathable plot. So, if you want to gorge yourself on gastronomic excess order yourself this Danish treat, it's gauranteed to wet the appetite. If the humour is to your taste, then you might want to try the flavour in Jensen's other brutally dark comedy, Adam's Apples which, in my opinion, was even more filling.
Being a Dane myself, it surprised me that I had never realised this movie as a potential classic. However, generally I am much more for Hollywood and English-language productions, than obscure small country released art films (which this movie almost falls into).
The movie itself, though interesting is not the best "butchers sell human meat" story I have yet to watch, but it never the less has some very unexpected, yet very Danish and very black humour, that I have yet to find in a non-Danish release.
The video seems adequate, though nothing special. It is however presented in it's original theatrical aspect ratio regardless of the box stating "16x9 Anamorphic", which it of course still is enhanced for.
The audio is available in both 5.1 Dolby Digital and 2.0 Dolby Surround in Danish.
I bought one of two British releases, only later realising that I might just have bought the bare-bones version. This however was not the case. This version contains all the extras available in the other British release as well as the Danish. There is, for a Danish production, a rather interesting behind-the-scenes feature, and once done with the talking actors part, it starts covering all the body parts used and shown in this feature.
A funny feature not available in the Danish release are the British trailers.
All features are subtitled in English, with the ability to turn them off (yay for Danes).
The case is interestingly red (as compared to the title and the Danish release) and leading ones thoughts into a classic horror movie which this isn't. Sure, it's scary and the macabre, but it is as much a tale about two off-the-map people who lose track of what is right and wrong.
This release's case names the film "Green Butchers". Being a Dane, and knowing the original title, I found that a little strange. The Danish title would be closer to "The Green Butchers" which the back of the case also proudly names it once or twice. The on-disc menu also refers to the movie by it's original title and green design.
I can highly recommend this release, if you are in the market for something gruesome and macabre, yet interestingly human.
Also check out Adam's Apples ( Adams æbler ) ( Adams Äpfel ), another movie by many of the same people, with a similar, albeit less cannibalistic world view. It's more religious and more ridiculous than "The Green Butchers" as well.
Meat is Murder