×

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

  • 'Patrick Melrose' TV show premiere

    Benedict Cumberbatch, Claire Foy to Star in 'Louis Wain'

    Benedict Cumberbatch (“Avengers: Endgame”) and Claire Foy (“The Crown”) are set to star in “Louis Wain,” a biopic of the prolific English artist who rose to prominence at the end of the 19th century. “Louis Wain” will start shooting on Aug. 10 with BAFTA-nominated Will Sharpe (“Flowers”) directing the film, which was written by Sharpe [...]

  • Production Resumes on 'Fast & Furious

    'Fast & Furious 9' Production Resumes, Investigation Into Stuntman Injury Under Way

    Production resumed Tuesday on “Fast & Furious 9,” a day after an accident at Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden, near London, left a stuntman in hospital. The U.K. agency responsible for workplace safety confirmed that it is now investigating the accident. The stuntman, Joe Watts, was working on a second unit when he sustained head injuries [...]

  • mother

    Director Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese: Africa Is ‘In the Process of Becoming’

    DURBAN–From the arresting opening sequence, in which the reflection of a woman carrying a giant wooden cross shimmers across the surface of a lake, Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese’s “Mother, I Am Suffocating. This is My Last Film About You” embarks on a poetic journey across an unnamed African landscape. Described by the filmmaker as a “lament,” [...]

  • Promise at Dawn Calcoa

    Colcoa French Film Festival Moves to the Fall With Revamped Format

    Colcoa, the Los Angeles-based French film festival, will be hosting its 23rd edition in September, right before the start of the awards season. Created by the Franco-American Cultural Fund, Colcoa will also be showcasing a more contained lineup focused on film and TV at the Directors Guild of America’s newly-renovated venue. The festival was previously [...]

  • Bruce Springsteen FYSEE Opening Night with

    Bruce Springsteen-Codirected 'Western Stars' Film Will Premiere in Toronto

    “Western Stars,” the film that Bruce Springsteen has made to accompany his recent album of the same name, will have its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, it was announced Tuesday. The feature is being listed as a co-directing project between Springsteen and his longtime filmic collaborator, Thom Zimny, who just picked up [...]

  • Sylvester Stallone and Braden Aftergood Balboa

    Sylvester Stallone's Production Company Wants to Be the Blumhouse of Action Films

    “I don’t believe Sylvester Stallone carries around a wallet,” says Braden Aftergood, the executive in charge of scripted development at the movie star’s content company Balboa Prods. It’s not that Sly, as he’s known to friends and fans alike, is trying to duck out on a dinner bill. He never seems to have his license [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content