The Coen Brothers have made a career out of creating some of the quirkiest films in history. There are many reasons they work so well and have gotten such a big following. And that main reason is because of the characters they’ve put on the big screen. Director Ulrich Thomsen seems to have taken a page from their playbook for his second film, American Sausage Standoff, and it works so well that at times it feels as if it’s the brothers behind the camera and not him.
American Sausage Standoff follows the story of Edward Hofler (Trainspotting‘s Ewen Bremner), a German man hopelessly addicted to everything about sausages. He’s looking to open a new restaurant in Gutterbee. Gutterbee is a small American town where racism, homophobia and intolerance are par for the course. There, he meets Mike (The Boys‘ Antony Starr), a local dreamer who recently returned to town after a two month stay in prison.
Mike likes the idea of opening a sausage restaurant, and agrees to help Edward fulfill his dreams. Unfortunately, that goes against the wishes of the bigwig owner of a local bar named Jimmy Jerry Lee Jones Jr. (Preacher‘s W. Earl Brown) and the local minister who despise foreigners and try everything they can to run them out of town. The majority of the town turn a blind eye to what’s going on. But the duo manage to find a few allies to help them fulfill their dreams.
While some movies require you to suspend your disbelief a little bit to enjoy it, American Sausage Standoff requires you to do it a lot. The film was so strange (including a racist chicken). If you can’t look beyond the odd storyline, you might have a hard time seeing the satire for what it is. It shines a bright spotlight on ring-wing America. Specifically, on America’s fear of immigrants and people who are a little different than what they think is the right way to be. Behind the story though is a glimmer of hope of how closed-minded people can be dealt with. It also hints on how inclusive attitudes are the way of the future.
American Sausage Standoff is sure to offend a lot of people, both liberal and conservative alike. Sometimes however, it takes something like this movie to open their eyes. A way to see how ridiculous their behavior and outdated beliefs are. One word of caution. The climax of the film contains a scene that will make you laugh so hard that whatever you are drinking will spray out of your nose. Somehow, that scene simultaneously causes you to avert your gaze. You’ve been warned.