In China They Eat Dogs Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

Arvid (Dejan Cukic) is a petty bank clerk. He’s a little slow and infantile, and in general – a damn loser. His girlfriend Hanna (Trine Dyurholm) Arvida doesn’t care a penny. At some point, a robber named Franz (Peter Ganzler) broke into the bank where Arvid works. Franz began to take money out of the cabinets, and Arvid, who happened to have a squash racket in his hand at that moment, pounded Franz on the cumpole with this racket. Franz was arrested, Arvid became the hero of the day, but Hanne left him anyway, taking almost all of Arvid’s things from the apartment. But then Astrid (Lina Kruse) came to Arvid’s apartment, who said that Franz was her husband and that they needed money for artificial conception.

Arvid felt ashamed and decided to rob the bank to give the money to Astrid. But since he himself is unable to do anything, he went to his half-brother Harald (Kim Bodnia), whom he had not seen for many years. Harald has a criminal record, but now he runs a small restaurant, and is also engaged in some dark dealings with Serb bandits.

When Arvid tells Harald about his idea to rob the bank’s cash machine, Harald likes the idea. Harald develops a clear plan, according to which you need to get involved in the case, and then see how it goes, and they go on a robbery. Harald and Arvid are accompanied by two restaurant chefs Martin (Nikolai Lie Kaas) and Peter (Thomas Villum Jensen), as well as an unfortunate child of the Serbian people, an almost speechless peasant named Vuk (Brian Patterson). Harald can’t digest Vuk and kicks him in every possible way, but Vuk is a relative of the leader of the Serbian bandits Ratko (Slavko Labovich), and jokes are bad with Ratko.


The old film, which in 1999 made a real sensation in Denmark and throughout Scandinavia, was almost unknown in United States. Actually, that’s why I missed it. But United Statesn distributors guessed to give the picture a name in the style of a typical B-class action movie, which was then produced in tons, so it was completely lost. Meanwhile, the original title of the painting “They Eat Dogs in China” is much more prominent. Why “They eat dogs in China”? Yes, because further the continuation is implied – “and – nothing, it’s customary for them. It’s customary for them, it’s customary for us.”

This film was recommended to me in a discussion about an entry about the TV series Killing Eve, where actor Kim Bodnia is mentioned. I remembered that I had wanted to watch this movie for a long time, and finally I was honored. And before watching, I knew nothing about this picture, except that it was an action movie and that Kim Bodnia starred there.

At first, I was expecting an action movie and did not immediately understand what was being shown to me at all: the picture “swings” for some time and the degree of black-humor shizuha there rises very gradually. But on the scene of the robbery of the cash-in-transit car, it already became clear what it was – and then it became very good, because I love the wild black-humor shizuha. And here it is also with Danish flavor, which is also very good.

After the first robbery, they needed to commit another attack, and then another. Harald, with a completely indescribable expression on his face, looks at his brother, dragging him into yet another trouble, but then “whatever you want,” as they say in Odessa, “this is a seed”! Therefore, Harald helps Arvid in all his idiotic undertakings.

Kim Bodnia did a great job as Harald! The character is simply gorgeous. There, one of his eyes, with which he looks at Arvid, offering to get involved in some regular madhouse, is something with something! There are quite a few great scenes with the brothers, especially when Harald demands Arvid to be tough.

Dejan Čukić in the role of Arvid is not something to say that he hooked, but the character, in general, is played quite within the given framework: a damn loser at the beginning, who gradually turned around at the end.

Harald’s henchmen – two cheerful constantly smoking cooks Martin and Peter – are cool. As well as their phrase “We’re just cooks here”, with which they go on an armed robbery, work with plastic explosives and other dangerous items.

Well, Vuk is an incredibly colorful and incredibly unhappy character: Harald constantly rots him and Vuk always faces severe trials.

The final “Chukalovo” filmed spectacularly and dynamically, not to mention the fact that the director at the very end found something to surprise the audience and there will be another very important, actually philosophical dialogue that is better not to miss.

I’m very pleased that after almost twenty years I still looked and didn’t miss it. I love this style, and there is also a Danish flavor, and it’s done great.

In China They Eat Dogs / I Kina spiser de hunde

Directed by: Lasse Spang Olsen Cast: Nikolaj Li Kos, Trine Dyrholm, Kim Bodnia, Dejan Cukic, Thomas Willum Jensen, Peter Ganzler, Line Kruse, Brian Patterson, Søren Satter-Lassen, Lester Wiese

Black humor thriller, Denmark, 1999, 91 min.

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