Wild Men: A Spoiler Review

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Montage of scenes from Wild Men (2021). The central image is t(e poster for this film.

🇳🇴 WILD MEN 🇳🇴

Wild Men (2021) is a Danish dark comedy feature film at present on BBC iPlayer in the U.K. Danish, Norwegian and English with embedded English subtitles. Rated 15 U.K.

Premise:

“In a desperate attempt to cure his midlife crisis, Martin has fled his family to live high up in the Norwegian mountains. There, he meets Musa, a hash smuggler, who is injured after a car accident. [In] a series of events, the pair are sent fleeing across the Norwegian mountains, pursued by the police, Musa’s rivals and Martin’s wife.” IMDb

Cast:


Rasmus Berg as Martin
Zaki Youssef as Musa
Bjørn Sundqvist as Øyvind
Sofie Gråbøl as Anne
Marco Ilsø as Simon
Jonas Bergen Rahmanzadeh as Bashir
Håkon T. Nielsen as Tore
Tommy Karlsen as Eigil
Rune Temte as Henrik
Kathrine Thorborg Johansen as Woman in Lover Couple
Jonas Strand Gravli as Cashier in supermarket

Crew:


Writers: Thomas Daneskov, Morten Pape
Director: Thomas Daneskov
Composer: Ola Fløttum
Cinematographer: Jonatan Rolf Mose
Editor: Julius Krebs Damsbo
Makeup: Anniken Arbil, Sofie de Mylius, Thomas Foldberg
Costume Designer: Vibe Knoblauch Hededam

Location:
Wild Men was filmed on location in the municipality of Aurland, Norway.

Poster for the film Wild Men (2021)

⚠️ This review contains some spoilers ⚠️

Review:

Knowing precisely nothing about Wild Men before starting to watch, other than it was a Danish production (a conscious decision on my part) I settled myself down eager to watch it.

What a pleasant surprise was in store for me. Now, when I say “pleasant” I don’t mean that everything I saw onscreen was lovely and “fluffy”, because this is a reasonably violent and sweary film with injury details which made me think “Ouch, that must really hurt” and, “I think he needs antibiotics!” What I do mean is that I enjoyed this film a lot! Why? Let me count at least some of the ways.

Firstly the performances are great in this and it is these which very much help hold this film together. The characters are well played and are not played for laughs even though this is a very funny film. Martin as a man who is attempting, and failing (oh, so very badly) at living off the grid as a Viking is pitched perfectly by Rasmus Berg. Zaki Youssef as Musa is the perfect straight man (for that also read “realist”) to the naive, broken and angry Martin.

The rest of the supporting cast is excellent with Bjørn Sundqvist as Øyvind especially impressive. This is a very impressive cast when you look at it. While Sofie Gråbøl’s character Anne hasn’t got a lot of “meat” what is there is important. The two young actors playing Martin’s daughters are great.

Gosh, this film make me laugh a lot. From the disaffected couple in a car when the husband chooses the worst time possible to prove his altruism to that time when Martin throws the tarpaulined bag of all their supplies into a raging river (not exactly what was supposed to happen). There’s also a great running gag about it being the police dog’s day off.

There are some fabulous one-liners in this. Stealing rolls and drinks from a Viking settlement (of the “we live like Vikings, except we don’t really” type) being “The most Viking thing to do” made me laugh so hard.

An important mention of the makeup in this because it is impressive, from a nasty gash in the thigh (when I say “nasty” I mean horrible) to a broken jaw and more. The costuming is excellent too from the Viking dress to Musa’s jacket and hoody.

I loved the direction of this, the cinematography and the locations which are often stunning. At one point Martin and Musa sit overlooking a stunning view and we can feel that we are with them.

I also loved the use of music in Wild Men notably the songs by Ted Lucas “It’s So Easy (When You Know What You’re Doing)” and “Baby Where Are You?”

This is a very funny film with, beneath it all, some serious themes. Martin feels at loss as a man, a husband and a father. He is a very angry man. Musa is in a terrible place with no contact with his young son which hurts, a lot. Øyvind is bereft since the loss of his wife. There’s a juxtaposition of the funny and sad which is used a lot, with the lost rabbit a prime example.

Finally, I must say how much I loved the bromance between Martin and Musa. While some may find the ending too sentimental and nice for their taste I absolutely loved it.

For me, Wild Men is a small gem of a film. What an unexpected little treasure.

Awards: 2 Wins, 4 Nominations

Wins:
Edera Film Festival (2022) Audience Award, Best Film ~ Thomas Daneskov
Reykjavik International Film Festival (2021) Special Mention, New Visions ~ Thomas Daneskov

Nominations:
Motovun Film Festival (2022) Best Film
Reykjavik International Film Festival (2021) Golden Puffin ~ Thomas Daneskov
Skip City International D-Cinema Festival (2022) Feature Film ~ Thomas Daneskov

Trailer:

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