Tuesday, May 03, 2022

Wild Men – off-grid comedy where everyone is losing the run of themselves (QFT until 12 May)

In this deadpan and sometimes dark off-grid comedy about escapism, Martin can no longer live in the modern world that he finds overwhelming. Yet, clothed in pelt and hunting for food, he can’t really survive without foraging for groceries in a remote filling station.

If Wild Men’s somewhat delusional Martin (Rasmus Bjerg) is running away from himself, many of the other misfits he encounters on his adventure through the Norwegian countryside are also evading reality and playing some form of adult dress-up. There’s an old police chief (Bjørn Sundquist) in deep grief for his wife. A village that promises an authentic Viking experience … in exchange for a swipe of your credit card. A police dog whose leave allowance isn’t to be sniffed at. And Musa (Zaki Youssef), a criminal who stole from his former accomplices and is now relying on Martin for security and transport.

Together they leave a trail of blood, dead animals and stolen cars across the pristine Norwegian countryside in a misdirected search for a mindless model of masculinity.

Martin’s wife (Sofie Gråbøl wearing a jumper The Killing would have rejected) is the most grounded – and the most underused – catching up with her gormless husband and giving him a piece of him mind. Though the stress of being responsible for two children and a fugitive rabbit could lead her to abscond if a ‘Wild Women’ sequel is ever made.

Directed and co-written by Thomas Daneskov, Wild Men is a mild tonic for these serious times. It’s never laugh out loud, but it does artfully balance the ludicrous and the absurd with a few moment of moderate terror. And don’t miss the start of the end credits for a pleasing conclusion to one of the plotlines.

Wild Men is being screened at Queen’s Film Theatre from 6 May until Thursday 12 May.

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