Wild Men (2022)

Director: Thomas Daneskov

Running Time: 102 Minutes

Certification: 15

Starring: Rasmus Bjerg, Zaki Youssef, Bjørn Sundquist, Sofie Gråbøl, Marco Ilsø, Jonas Bergen Rahmanzadeh, Håkon T. Nielsen, Tommy Karlsen, Rune Temte

Opening in the wilderness, Martin (Rasmus Bjerg) weeps alone while dressed as a viking. Armed with a bow and arrow, his expectations to hunt and gather are shattered when he fails to kill a goat, resorting in him attacking an unsuspecting frog which leaves him ill. Out of options, Martin descends the mountain to pick up food from a gas station, although he resorts to stealing the food when the cashier won't accept furs as payment.

Safe to say, Martin isn't having a normal time. He's previously fled his family and the modern world to live off the land, something which hasn't worked out well. Things become even more troubled when Martin encounters Musa (Zaki Youssef), an injured drug smuggler with police on his trail. Working from a screenplay co-written with Morten Pape, director Thomas Daneskov has crafted a darkly humorous buddy-trip about two men trying to escape their feelings of inadequacy in being "real men". They take desperate measures to reclaim that feeling without considering how their actions may affect others, as best exemplified with Martin's worried family.

As Martin affectionately looks upon past methods of living, there's much humour in how real life cannot live up to his ideals, particularly when he keeps making mistakes. One memorable sequence sees the pair reach a place that appears to be all they've longed for, although the discovery of how inauthentic and commercial it actually is disappoints them. It offers a steady tone until the third act, where the film loses its way for something action-focused which feels tacked on. Despite this, there's much entertainment in seeing these men take extreme lengths because the most painful thing they imagine is an honest conversation.

Wild Men is in cinemas now from Blue Finch Film Releasing