7.5/10
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In China They Eat Dogs (1999)

I Kina spiser de hunde (original title)
Not Rated | | Action, Comedy, Crime | 10 September 1999 (Denmark)
Two brothers, one cold and ruthless, the other sensitive and reluctant, and their brutal misadventures.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Tomas Villum Jensen ...
...
...
Hanne
Line Kruse ...
Astrid
Brian Patterson ...
Vuk
...
Henning (as Søren Sætter Lassen)
Lester Wiese ...
...
Lasse Lunderskov ...
Jørgen
...
Erling
Slavko Labovic ...
Ratko
Zarko Labovic ...
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Storyline

Arvid is a regular bank clerk, whose life changes radically when he knocks out the bank robber Franz with his squash racket. A few days later Franz's wife visits him lamenting that she needed the swag for an IVF. To obtain the money Arvid and his criminal brother Harald plan a thievery, which ends bloodily and drags them into real trouble. Written by Moritz Muehlenhoff <jmm@inutil.org>

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Genres:

Action | Comedy | Crime

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

10 September 1999 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

In China They Eat Dogs  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Goofs

When Vuk crashes into the cars, the cars explode before they are hit. See more »

Quotes

Martin: What the fuck do we know? We are only chefs
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Morten og Peter vender tilbage (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

 
In China They Eat Dogs
20 September 2010 | by See all my reviews

Action films are not the most prominent type of Nordic cinema, but not entirely unheard of either. A good example is the Danish black comedy In China They Eat Dogs that was eventually followed by a prequel Old Men in New Cars in 2002. The story deals with Arvid Blixen (Dejan Cukic), a mild-mannered bank clerk who is dumped by his girlfriend for being too boring. After unexpectedly preventing a bank robbery, he comes to re-evaluate his uneventful life and decides that he wants to be a criminal instead to help out the robber Franz (Peter Gantzler) whom he inadvertently sent to prison. With the help of his ruthless restaurant owner brother Harald (Kim Bodnia), his cooks Martin and Peter (Nikolaj Lie Kaas and Tomas Villum Jensen) and the hapless kitchen assistant Vuk (Brian Patterson), Arvid gets involved in a spectacular downward spiral of crime, after which nothing will be the same again.

The movie doesn't allow itself to be bound by the limitations of realism and maintains a very dark comedic mood throughout. A lot of the appeal comes from the unusual nature of the characters: the gang members are not sharp-tongued gangsters like in many regular heist films, but instead rather shy and easily manipulated. Awkward silences take the place of clever insults and snappy comebacks – the chemistry between the team burns quietly. The comical Martin and Peter, the unlucky, naive Vuk and the timid Arvid end up in increasingly uncontrollable situations where bodies start piling up and the direction of things slips out of control but everything is taken with confused Nordic reservedness, adding up to a pretty unique and quietly funny story. Interspersed with the main scenes are clips of a foreigner named Richard (Lester Wiese) narrating the story to a bartender (Jesper Christensen); the story lines are tied together in the bizarre supernatural ending that nevertheless oddly manages to fit in the film's casual state of mind effortlessly.

The action scenes are well created, especially the epic armoured van robbery, and the surprisingly brutal violence is only softened by the politically incorrect dark humour bubbling under the surface. The title"In China They Eat Dogs" is related to the theme of the relativity of morals; the will of a timid man wanting to be bold and true to himself in the midst of unpredictable twists of life is not left unrewarded at the end, but since everything is seen through thick satirical glasses, nothing can be taken too literally. To sum up, the movie successfully plays with the conventions of crime cinema and moral expectations of the audience, creating an enjoyable little movie that is both over-the-top and down-to-earth at the same time.


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