Martin (Rasmus Bjerg) has decided to uproot his life to live in the forest. Despite looking the part of a Viking with his furs and bow, he’s not exactly cut out for it. In fact, if it weren’t for a nearby shop, he would have probably starved to death. And when Martin crosses paths with a badly wounded drug smuggler, Musa (Zaki Youssef), the unlikely new friends find themselves running from the law and Musa’s former accomplices.
With Wild Men, director Thomas Daneskov (who co-wrote the screenplay with Morten Pape) has created a wickedly funny and genuinely heartfelt tale of companionship set against some jaw-dropping scenery that never ceases to amaze. A mix between Hunt for the Wilderpeople and Fargo, Daneskov’s comedy comes from combining the absurd with the sublime to fantastic effect. Scoring Martin’s failing attempts to hunt for food and eventual discovery of the nearby shop isn’t just a humorous juxtaposition, it crucially underpins the vulnerability and humanity of the character. Bjerg channels this energy throughout his performance, which consequently makes Martin a lovable idiot who audiences will want to cheer for.
If Bjerg is the comedic protagonist, Youssef is more of the straight man. However, that doesn’t make his performance any less spectacular. Like Martin, Musa is someone else who’s trying to change his life in drastic measures, and it’s this shared motivation that bonds the pair and encourages them to keep going. Moreover, the filmmaker’s tender touch likewise applies to the selection of supporting characters, with veteran police officer Øyvind (Bjørn Sundquist) being a notable standout. Viewers will be won over by the charming sense of humour, but it’s the uplifting humanity embedded at this film’s core that elevates Wild Men to something truly special.
The pacing stumbles towards the climax, however, when the film briefly switches gears into the action genre. Though this confrontation was an inevitability, the sudden switch in tone is somewhat distracting from the stakes at hand. Thankfully, this portion doesn’t overstay its welcome and the script is able to get back on track in time for its conclusion.
Wild Men is released in select cinemas on 6th May 2022.
Watch the trailer for Wild Men here: