sun 14/07/2024

Wild Men review - Danish-Norwegian black comedy | reviews, news & interviews

Wild Men review - Danish-Norwegian black comedy

Wild Men review - Danish-Norwegian black comedy

Slabs of Danish ham festoon the fjords of Norway

All lost in the supermarket: Rasmus Bjerg as Martin

There are films that, after seeing the trailer, I very much expect to love. But when the actual movie is disappointing, I find writing the review makes me just a little bit sad. Unfortunately, Wild Men is one of those movies. Billed as a comedy-thriller, it doesn’t quite make the grade on either front, it's not gripping enough as a policier and the jokes often fall flat. 

Danish director Thomas Daneskov loves Fargo (who doesn’t?) and he’s very much working in a similar setting – small-town cops baffled by incoming crooks. The main outsider is Martin (Rasmus Bjerg), who is having a mid-life crisis and has abandoned his family back in Denmark to live as a Viking in the Norwegian mountains. Imagine Brian Blessed doing Nordic cosplay and you’ll be on the right track. 

Despite dressing up in animal skins and equipping himself with a bow and arrow, Martin soon realises that his capacity to live off-grid is sadly limited; best option, head into the nearest small town, rob a supermarket for snacks, and ignore the CCTV. As if this wasn’t enough excitement for the sleepy local police, there’s a trio of drug smugglers who have crashed in their terrain while on the way to the ferry back to Denmark. When one of the smugglers, Musa (Zaki Youssef), hooks up with Martin, Wild Men is set for odd-couple comedy. 

There’s a lovely performance by the veteran Norwegian actor Bjørn Sundquist as Øyvind as a world-weary detective, which will doubtless amuse Ragnarok fans. Missing his late wife and contemplating retirement, Øyvind has the best lines and is the most interesting character on screen. He’s let down by an underdeveloped pair of bumbling local cops  who are more concerned about their child-care arrangements and what their wives are making dinner than in finding Martin or the smugglers. 

Martin’s nagging, exhausted wife is played by Sophie Gråbøl (above). She's baffled by her husband's disappearance and has their two daughters in tow. Sadly, the feeble dialogue she’s been given here will just make her admirers long for another series of The Killing. She doesn’t even get to wear an enviable sweater. The director appears more interested in the impressive Norwegian fjords and mountains than it is in her character.  

Daneskov is clearly trying to take on the tragi-comedy of the male menopause while also aiming a swipe at the Viking heritage industry nonsense that has grown up in Scandinavia. But he doesn’t quite have the writing (or directing) skills to move the story along deftly enough for Wild Men to work as a movie. In the film's favour is the fact that this is certainly a more enjoyable watch than the fetishistic, over art-directed torture fest that is The Northman. However, if you are craving comedy blokes in animal pelts stomping around Norway, I’d recommend Norsemen on Netflix instead. 

Below: Watch the trailer for Wild Men:

Imagine Brian Blessed doing Nordic cosplay and you’ll be on the right track


Editor Rating: 
Average: 2 (1 vote)

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