You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Green Butchers

A macabre comedy with strong echoes of "Sweeney Todd," "The Green Butchers" will be either a turn-on or turn-off, depending on one's sense of humor. This second outing as director by screenwriter Anders Thomas Jensen has enough appeal in its oddball story and strong cast to register as a moderate success in selected fests or arthouses.

With:
With: Mads Mikkelsen, Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Line Kruse, Bodil Jorgensen, Ole Thestrup, Aksel Erhardsen, Lily Weiding, Nicolas Bro.

A macabre comedy with strong echoes of “Sweeney Todd,” “The Green Butchers” will be either a turn-on or turn-off, depending on one’s sense of humor. This second outing as director by prolific screenwriter Anders Thomas Jensen is not as fast-paced as his previous “Flickering Lights” but has enough appeal in its oddball story and strong cast to register as a moderate success in selected fests or arthouses. The grisly goings-on will not, however, be for all tastes.

Svend (Mads Mikkelsen, with a bizarre, high-forehead haircut) and Bjarne (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) work in a butcher shop. Tired of their bullying boss, the two decide to start their own organic butcher shop and, to get some seed money, Bjarne orders doctors to turn off the life-support system that’s kept his twin brother alive since a car accident. That way, he inherits the family fortune.

However, Svend and Bjarne’s shop doesn’t attract any customers. Then one morning Svend finds a dead man in back of the shop, the victim of an accident. When his former boss comes to buy meat for a large dinner, Svend cuts up one of the dead man’s legs, soaks it in marinade and puts it on sale. The result is a huge success.

But customer demand creates an equal demand for new bodies, so Svend turns to killing people to get fresh supplies. Meanwhile, Bjarne’s twin brother woke from his coma when the life-support system was turned off, and he is now wandering around town trying to find Bjarne. And, Svend and Bjarne’s ex-boss is getting suspicious.

Jensen’s previous scripts include Soren Kragh-Jacobsen’s “Mifune” and “Skagerrak,” plus Susannne Bier’s “Open Hearts.” However, his love for more violent and darkly comic fare has already surfaced in “Flickering Lights” and “In China They Eat Dogs.”

Latter pics were set among Copenhagen petty gangsters, whereas “The Green Butchers” is set in a middle-class Danish suburb in a time that’s never specifically defined (a mix of the 1920s and the present). Characters are a traditional Jensen blend of the simpleminded or outright stupid and are hardly sympathetic. However, as played by the deadpan Mikkelsen and Kaas, the two leads do emerge as kind of likable, in part thanks to Jensen’s knack for balancing comedy and the macabre without ever stepping over the line.

Ending is both dramatically satisfying and as politically incorrect as the whole movie. Gore quotient is fairly high but not excessive.

The Green Butchers

Denmark

Production: A Sandrew Metronome release of an M&M Prods. production, in association with TV2/Danmark, Danish Film Institute, Fynske Film Fond, Nordic Film & Television Fund. (International sales: M&M, Copenhagen.) Produced by Kim Magnusson, Tivi Magnusson. Co-producer, Margarete Matheson. Directed, written by Anders Thomas Jensen.

Crew: Camera (color, widescreen), Sebastian Blenkov; editor, Anders Villadsen; music, Jeppe Kaas; art director, Mia Stensgaard; costume designers, Stensgaard, Helle Nielsen; sound (Dolby Digital), Nino Jacobsen. Reviewed at Haugesund Film Festival, Norway, Aug. 23, 2003. (Also in Toronto Film Festival -- Discovery.) Running time: 100 MIN.

With: With: Mads Mikkelsen, Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Line Kruse, Bodil Jorgensen, Ole Thestrup, Aksel Erhardsen, Lily Weiding, Nicolas Bro.

More Film

  • BondIt Media Capital

    BondIt Media Capital Closes $20 Million Credit Facility (EXCLUSIVE)

    A macabre comedy with strong echoes of “Sweeney Todd,” “The Green Butchers” will be either a turn-on or turn-off, depending on one’s sense of humor. This second outing as director by prolific screenwriter Anders Thomas Jensen is not as fast-paced as his previous “Flickering Lights” but has enough appeal in its oddball story and strong […]

  • Brookings Institution presents "The Life She

    Brookings Institution Doc Puts a Human Face on the Medical Marijuana Movement

    A macabre comedy with strong echoes of “Sweeney Todd,” “The Green Butchers” will be either a turn-on or turn-off, depending on one’s sense of humor. This second outing as director by prolific screenwriter Anders Thomas Jensen is not as fast-paced as his previous “Flickering Lights” but has enough appeal in its oddball story and strong […]

  • Playback Podcast: Aaron Katz on 'Gemini'

    Playback: Aaron Katz on 'Gemini' and the Erosion of Mid-Budget Studio Filmmaking

    A macabre comedy with strong echoes of “Sweeney Todd,” “The Green Butchers” will be either a turn-on or turn-off, depending on one’s sense of humor. This second outing as director by prolific screenwriter Anders Thomas Jensen is not as fast-paced as his previous “Flickering Lights” but has enough appeal in its oddball story and strong […]

  • The Equalizer 2 trailer

    Denzel Washington Is Back in Action in 'Equalizer 2' Trailer

    A macabre comedy with strong echoes of “Sweeney Todd,” “The Green Butchers” will be either a turn-on or turn-off, depending on one’s sense of humor. This second outing as director by prolific screenwriter Anders Thomas Jensen is not as fast-paced as his previous “Flickering Lights” but has enough appeal in its oddball story and strong […]

  • Robert Redford

    Robert Redford's 'The Old Man and the Gun' Lands Awards-Season Opening

    A macabre comedy with strong echoes of “Sweeney Todd,” “The Green Butchers” will be either a turn-on or turn-off, depending on one’s sense of humor. This second outing as director by prolific screenwriter Anders Thomas Jensen is not as fast-paced as his previous “Flickering Lights” but has enough appeal in its oddball story and strong […]

  • Super Troopers 2

    How 'Super Troopers 2' Became the Biggest Crowdfunded Movie Campaign After 'Veronica Mars'

    A macabre comedy with strong echoes of “Sweeney Todd,” “The Green Butchers” will be either a turn-on or turn-off, depending on one’s sense of humor. This second outing as director by prolific screenwriter Anders Thomas Jensen is not as fast-paced as his previous “Flickering Lights” but has enough appeal in its oddball story and strong […]

  • Empty movie theater

    Netflix and Byron Allen Could Be Getting Into the Movie Theater Business

    A macabre comedy with strong echoes of “Sweeney Todd,” “The Green Butchers” will be either a turn-on or turn-off, depending on one’s sense of humor. This second outing as director by prolific screenwriter Anders Thomas Jensen is not as fast-paced as his previous “Flickering Lights” but has enough appeal in its oddball story and strong […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content