The Green Butchers

The Green Butchers

***1/2

Reviewed by: Paz Newis

I thought this was a horror film - it does have a horrific theme, but is very, very funny.

Svend (Mads Mikkelsen) and Bjarne (Nikolai Lie Kaas) work together in a butcher's shop. When they have had about enough of their evil boss, Svend persuades Bjarne to go into business with him and open a rival butcher's. Bjarne has to make a big decision in order to raise his share of the stake - that's "stake," not "steak" - when a tragic accident leads to a departure from the usual bill of fare...

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This is textbook black comedy, with similarities to Jeunet and Caro's classic Delicatessen, but where that was comic book, this is real. The cinematography is just delish - muted colours, understated cutting, low angles, lingering shots, all of which throw into contrast the themes of social inadequacy, the desire to be needed, sibling rivalry, familial dependence, grief and cannibalism.

This is neither a gorefest, nor a slasher flick, but despite (perhaps, because of) that the casual presentation of people and parts of people on meat hooks is doubly chilling. Sweaty Svend, a vision of social dysfunction, is perfectly plausible as the instigator of the dreadful deeds, abetted by the permanently stoned Bjarne, whose backstory provides the sub plot and whose romantic involvement with the lovely Astrid (Line Kruse), who works at the crematorium, leads to the threat of discovery, as her guardian is no stranger to the taste of "long pork."

Not everyone will find this funny. There are no signposts and definitely no laughter tracks, but the dialogue is bone dry and the script hilarious. For those with a sick sense of humour, say no more; this is your kind of movie.

I do not know why it is called The Green Butchers. Maybe because they are novices? Or perhaps, as the trailer states, "a completely organic film."

Reviewed on: 05 Feb 2006
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Meat is murder.
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Director: Anders Thomas Jensen

Writer: Anders Thomas Jensen

Starring: Nikolai Lie Kaas, Mads Mikkelsen, Line Kruse, Bodil Jorgensen, Ole Thestrup, Nicolas Bro, Aksel Erhardtsen, Lily Weiding

Year: 2003

Runtime: 96 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: Denmark

Festivals:

Glasgow 2007

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If you like this, try:

Delicatessen
Severance
Shaun Of The Dead