The Green Butchers (2003) De Grnne Slagtere
Directed by Anders Thomas Jensen (Adams bler)
Starring Nikolaj Lie Kaas (Reconstruction, Brothers), Mads Mikkelsen (Open Hearts, Torremolinos 73)
Two butchers, both of whom suffer from the type of disorders that would lead them to be considered damaged goods set up shop in competition with their previous employer. At the end of their opening day (only notable for the complete lack of customers) an electrician accidentally gets locked in the freezer. Svend (commonly known as Sweaty Svend) panics, especially when his former employer turns up the next day and sarcastically asks for something special to serve to several of the towns top people. In a state of turmoil he slices up the frozen electricians leg, marinates the meat and passes it off as chicken.
The dawn of the following day is greeted by a large queue who have heard about this beautiful marinated chicken and surprise surprise, they all want some!
Svend and Bjarne become unwitting serial killers to cope with the demand for this wonderful dish, they make large amounts of cash and become minor celebrities but of course things cant continue to run smoothly, not when you need a constant supply of fresh corpses.
Fresh corpses are one thing but there are other problems as well. Bjarne raised his capital for the business on the strength of his inheritance, which in turn relied on the death of his brother Eigil who had been kept alive on life support but classified as brain dead for several years. The hospital obligingly switch off the life support but instead of his brother dying their action brings him back out of his coma.
Due to the financial success of the butchers Bjarne isnt bothered in terms of the Will but there is bad blood between the brothers, this and the fact that Eigil loves all animals and is retarded bring on a whole new set of problems. Svend ends up on the verge of a breakdown especially after killing his ex fiance and is ready to spill the beans when he finds the health inspectors at the butchers.
A rich vein of dry acerbic black humour runs through this film, Mads Mikkelsen as Svend looks suitably fragile (almost like a demented Christopher Walken at times). Nikolaj Lie Kaas as Bjarne comes across as a man who gave up on life many years before; he also plays the role of the half-wit brother Eigil.
The story isnt laugh out loud funny but it certainly made me chuckle quite a few times. Despite the subject matter, there is very little in the way of gore, no squirting spurting arteries or visceral organs splattered anywhere. No its all pretty subdued in the effects department and the strength of the film comes from the script and the performances, which in my opinion makes for a far better film.
One problem though, I did feel the end was a little rushed and a bit of a cop out but it is a comedy after all, albeit a dark comedy.
I enjoyed it, hopefully you will as well if you get the chance to see it.
BBFC rated 15
R2 Pal dvd available from Metrodome Distribution. R1 ntsc dvd available from Columbia Tristar.
Apparently the Danish release comprises 2 discs packed with extras.