Wild Men review – the world’s worst Viking comes off the grid | Film
YesYou wouldn’t think it was possible to accidentally commit armed robbery. But that’s exactly what happens to poor, distraught Martin when he gets into an altercation with a gas station attendant while dressed as a Viking in animal fur, with an ax in hand. Martin fled to the snowy mountains to hunt, feed and find the meaning of life. The catch is that his survival skills are more Alan Partridge than Bear Grylls – hence the foray into the gas station for beer and chips.
Danish filmmaker Thomas Daneskov’s deadpan comedy about midlife crisis has some brilliantly absurd moments like this. Rasmus Bjerg plays Martin, who has tried half marathons and road cycling but still feels dead inside. Announcing to his long-suffering wife, Anne (Sofie Gråbøl of The Killing), that he is going to a team-building seminar, Martin instead travels to Norway to fulfill his Viking fantasies. Bjerg’s performance is spot on, playing it delightfully straight as this gormless bumbler, who goes full Fred Flintstone with his ridiculous animal skin costume but can’t bear to part with his iPhone. Daneskov frames Bjerg’s large, expressive face against the majestic icy landscape for maximum comedy.
Martin has been living as the world’s worst Viking for about a week and has just robbed the gas station when he comes across Musa (Zaki Youssef), a weed dealer injured in a car accident. This is roughly where the police get involved and the film shoots Fargo style. Bjørn Sundquist is terrific as Øyvind, a retired-age police chief with Jack Nicholson eyebrows and a penchant for fly-fishing. Every time he asks for the police sniffer dog, Øyvind gets the same answer: it’s the mutt’s day off. There are some very funny scenes and a reasonably tense gunfight finale – even if the sentimental ending felt a bit like an escape to me. And it’s a shame that Gråbøl (wearing a garbage sweater) is burdened with an uninspiring role as Martin’s wife.