Wild Men: Masculinity in an absurdist crisis

Film review: Thomas Daneskov’s amusing Danish comedy caper accentuates the ridiculous

Rasmus Bjerg in Wild Men
Wild Men
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Director: Thomas Daneskov
Cert: Club
Genre: Comedy
Starring: Rasmus Bjerg, Zaki Youssef, Sofie Grabol, Bjorn Sundquist
Running Time: 1 hr 44 mins

Masculinity doesn’t get more flawed and lunkheaded than in this amusing Danish excavation of midlife malaise and overgrown capering. Add a suitcase of drugs and/or money – a McGuffin beloved in the early post-Tarantino years, lately resurrected by such voguish projects as Euphoria – and it’s a very boy’s own adventure.

Martin (Rasmus Bjerg) has had enough. But of what? He appears on screen in faux prehistoric garb, wandering aimlessly through the wilderness and failing to hunt prey, save for a small, unfortunate frog. It transpires he has left his family for the Norwegian mountains, without telling his wife (Sofie Gråbøl) and young daughters, who believe he is at a conference.

When his survivalist skills prove wholly insufficient, the muddled Dane is forced to rob a supermarket at arrow-point, much to the confusion of the staff. This escapade introduces Musa (Zaki Youssef), who, after surviving a car collision with a moose, is also on the run.

While Martin’s trek is tricky to explain, Musa has reasons – namely, a bag of swag – to stay out of sight. Together, they make their way towards a recreated Viking village where locals live a “natural way of life”, and where – much to Martin’s disgust – they only take Visa or Mastercard.


The pair are pursued – by no means hotly – by Øyvind, an older, rural policeman (Bjørn Sundquist) and his bumbling associates. “Either he’s lost his marbles,”  Øyvind tells Martin’s baffled, exasperated wife, “or he’s in a gang of international drug runners”.

Thomas Daneskov’s pleasing comedy doesn’t make enough of its oddball buddy dynamics, nor does it delve too deeply into the source of Martin’s existential dread, preferring the absurd to the astute. Instead, the writer-director’s script trades in deadpan Danish rhythms that recall the work of Fargo-era Coen Brothers.

Bjerg’s central performance is a lumbering delight and Youssef’s comparatively straight-man routine makes one pine for a spin-off sitcom.

Tara Brady

Tara Brady

Tara Brady, a contributor to The Irish Times, is a writer and film critic