Don’t you sometimes want to abandon the modern way of life and go live in the forest like your ancestors did? Wild Men is a Danish crime comedy following one man who did exactly that. However, we will spend just the opening fifteen minutes watching his struggle to become a Viking. Arguably this is the best part of the movie and the funniest one. That frog scene was just pure gold. I don’t want to reveal too much of the plot as this is one of those movies best viewed with as little info as possible.
The atmosphere is vibrant, the nature alluring and the characters authentic, what more to want from a comedy? Additionally, you really can’t tell where the story is going and how it’s going to end. The director and writer of this movie,Thomas Daneskov says that this is a movie about one man’s mid-life crisis but I think it’s also about something else. I think it’s a movie about what it means to be a man in the modern world. The clash between the tribal definition of a man and the realities of the modern way of life.
All of this is in the background and you can pay as little or as much attention to it as you want. This means you can watch Wild Men as a straight-up crime comedy without any deeper meaning and still be entertained. I was sensing a sort of a Fargo vibe the entire time and not just because of the snow and the absurdity of the situations. There was something else, this focus on an ordinary man and his troubles. Plus, the movie wasn’t preachy at all, it didn’t force narratives or tried to make you feel good. And I loved that.
We find Martin alone on top of a mountain trying to survive off the land. And although his bow and arrow skills are quite good he just can’t catch anything. Dressed in fur and determined to never come back to the civilization, he does his best to survive. He’s missing a goal, a mission that will help him become the best version of himself. And he soon finds it not knowing that things are about to get a lot more complicated.
Because of its unpredictability, Wild Men does come off as a bit disjointed. It’s definitely different than classic American crime comedies but exactly this makes it so refreshing. And quite brutal and dark at times, just like real life. Speaking of real life, the premiere of this movie had to be postponed because of the Kongsberg attack. A Danish man with a history of mental illness attacked and killed five people using various weapons, including a bow and arrow. The attack is completely unrelated to this movie and just a freak coincidence.
Anders Thomas Jensen perfected this weird genre of absurdist Danish crime comedy. I highly recommend you check out his movies Flickering Lights, The Green Butchers and especially Adam’s Apples. Riders of Justice is his latest movie and it’s also quite good. And if you want something really odd, do check out Men and Chickens that’s just out of this world. Wild Men is a more anchored movie but it’s a damn fine addition to this delightful subgenre.