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Another good movie, occasionally but steadily coming from Denmark, Flammen & Citronen (Flame and Citron, 2008), not necessarily belonging to the genre, but still shot in a good old film-noir style ("black-and-white" detective or other crime stories, a film genre with its hey-days back in 1940's and 1950's, nevertheless kept alive over the years, having its newer "offsprings" often related to as neo-noir, with the latest solid follower of the style, Shanghai (2010), American product directed by another filmmaker from Danish Scandinavian neighbourhood, Mikael Håfström from Sweden), based on the historically true story (with all the necessary fictional cinematic alternations) about the title hit-man and his driver, two among, apparently, very few but still existent resistance fighters in Nazi occupied Denmark, targeting at first only Danish collaborators, subsequently ordered to liquidate Germans, and, eventually, hit-man's girlfriend, getting themselves (and spectators along) ultimately confused in who their friends and foes are...
Im usually not a huge fan of Danish movies but this one, however, takes
it beyond that regular crap with cheesy endings and bad obvious acting.
This movie has soul. The little things really have their part in this
one and by paying attention to the details you get something you've
never seen before.
First of all, the acting. Thure Lindhardt and Mads Mikkelsen manages to make their parts more natural than I've seen in years. And for once they're not talking with a rhythmic, obvious-acting kind of tone but a real and honest voice. And after watching this one I truly understand why they call Thure The Man With The Thousand Faces.
As for the directing, it is award-winning stuff. Ill be surprised if it doesn't win several prizes and important ones too.
So if you read this, which I assume you do, go watch Flammen og Citronen. I can promise you intensity, honesty, love, bravery, hate, jokes and friendship all-in-one. This movies doesn't have those cheesy, dumb, ridiculous scenes but gives you something honest and pure.
I would recommend this for movie of the year so far, if I have the power to do so. I love this movie and I admire it even more. 9/10
Based on a true story, this twisting tale of two second world war folk
heroes of the Danish resistance unfolds with noir-ish intrigue.
Atmospherically photographed on a fat budget, the film looks stunning
but retains a gritty period realism.
The performances are universally strong and there is a real chemistry between the two central characters; Mads Mikkelsens' quirky Citronen, a twitching, sweaty bundle of amphetamine-fuelled nervous energy and his sole ally, the flame-haired, but relatively cool-headed Flammen (Thure Lindhardt).
This is a war film - but the war we experience here has a dreamlike, claustrophobic quality. This is a world of lies, paranoia and spiralling violence which threatens to erode our heroes moral certainty and destroy their sanity.
A buddy movie with echoes of "Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid" (without the jokes); "Bonnie & Clyde" (but with swastikas). There's even a little "Naked Lunch" thrown into the mix.
The first film I've seen by director Madsen has left me intrigued, impressed and hungry for more. Recommended 8.5/10
This film about the Danish resistance reminded me an awful lot of
Jean-Pierre Melville's brilliant film "L'armée des Ombres" (Army of
Shadows), as both were true stories about the resistance to Nazi
occupation and were great because they were well acted and without a
lot of frills. Good, crisp direction, exceptional tension and
excellence throughout--that's how I'd describe both films.
The title of the film comes from nicknames given to two famous resistance fighters who specialized in assassinations--mostly of Danish collaborators but also, occasionally, Nazis. What made this all so interesting is that after a while, it really became uncertain whether the two were actually now killing the good guys instead of the bad. Who was an informer and who really deserved to die was tough for the audience to figure out--and it was also quite difficult for Flame and Citron. I liked this vague aspect of the film--as war isn't always 100% cut and dry.
Overall, I have no negative comments about the film. It was exceptionally well made but unfortunately practically none of my fellow Americans will ever see the film, as sadly, most feel that it's too much trouble reading subtitles and would rather see a remake of "Friday 13th part 178"!! As for me, it just confirmed that the Danes have made some exciting films--such as "The Celebration" and "Babette's Feast"--and the Danish-Swedish co-production "Evil".
I am very impressed, and pleasantly surprised. I do not know any of the other work of the director, but I will have to consider anything else I see his name attached to. My opinion of what we Danes manage to put together in the medium of film is hardly a secret... I tend to find myself underwhelmed. Before tonight, I only really considered two such recent features truly great(the more notable of those, in my view, being Murk), and, well... as cliché as it is, that number is now three. The plot is magnificent, and the twists so marvelous and unexpected. There is maybe one thread that I found unsatisfying, perhaps especially because of how much attention was paid to it, but that's it. The acting is excellent... the one bad performance was had by a kid, and it didn't need to be better than it was. Lindhardt and Mikkelsen haven't a single weak moment between them, and Mygind... thumbs up. The cinematography is spectacular, though I did find the, all in all relatively few, zooms a bit distracting, save for one or two(these may be a Scandinavian thing, something similar appeared in Show Me Love). The editing is effective... the action(do note that this is not a straight-on piece within that genre) works, the drama likewise, and the only real criticism I can come with in this area is that there are a handful of places where things could be clearer. The writing there is infinitely little to complain about, and a long line of positives about, including the psychology, the complexity, the characters(the consistency of which is almost entirely flawless, and the only real problem within that is really how at least one major character disappears from the movie) and the incredibly accurate depiction of the time, the environment, the types of people. This is remarkably engaging. There is a little sexuality, and some language, as well as a measure of violence, but I wouldn't call any of it gratuitous. You do need a basic knowledge about the period, the place and the people, before watching this, but hey, nowhere near as much is required as for Der Untergang/Downfall. I don't know if this is entirely historically accurate, but little, heck, hardly any, is Hollywoodized, and it's undeniably entertaining and strong. I recommend this to any fan of drama, and anyone who wants a visual representation of the situation this revolves around. 8/10
I don't know what to say about this movie. Original setting for many of
us, Flame & Citron is based on the lives of two resistance
fighters/assassins ("Citron & Flame") in occupied Denmark back in World
War Two. The premise is that our leads are on order to do their
killings but their own aim is to kill the leader of the local Gestapo
unit. However, realpolitik, double crossing, self-preservation and a
femme fatale all just get in the way of everything, so our lead duo
have no option but to battle as much with their own as with the
occupiers. Personal relationship problems for our duo helps to keep the
film human, and the story never glamorises the pair, and in many ways
does show them to be quite amateurish despite their legendary status
even showing their botched jobs.
So how does it all go? Well, it's not an easy one to follow. Many a time not sure what to make of the storyline if we were to really learn much. The whole realpolitik aspect of the piece never seems to resolve and with so many sides in this film, it's hard to keep up. In fairness, that was likely the main point showing the true difficulty of war, as each group seems to play off of each other for their own ends, whatever they may be. This is a weakness overall, and with its length quite tiresome.
Acting in general is faultless and beautiful shots of the Scandanavian countryside plus panoramic views of the cities are great on the eye, but some bad camera work at times is just really amateurish and spoils things.
Overall a good film that is interesting and a new-ish angle for WW2 films. Some very good points and most will like it, but not as special as it possibly could have been.
It's almost impossible to get involved in a movie while flying over the North Pole in an Airbus. The personal screen is small, the ambient noise of the jet engines great, and the viewer's disorientation complete. Flame & Citron, a Danish subtitled movie, had no difficulty grabbing me anyway. It begins with one of the heroes vomiting in the street as a result of watching victorious Nazi troops rolling into the capital city of his small European nation. Almost immediately, we are swept up into the heroes' terror as they perform grotesque cold-blooded murders in the name of national insurgency. Brilliant performances by Thure Lindhardt and Mads Mikkelsen involve us in the personal crises of honest citizens who are forced by war into the roles of brutal hit-men. As the action proceeds, their predicament becomes only worse as they doubt the validity of their orders, and ultimately, the integrity of the order-givers. The 'third reel' of the film is an ongoing crisis, and the outcome is not pretty. The only survivors are the sociopaths who sold out in their various charming ways. The story depicts the multi-layered nature of an occupied society, and the different commitments of its members --- to their country, to their offshore bank balances, and to their own skins. Even Flame & Citron, selfless insurgent heroes, are compromised, no one comes out of the Third Reich smelling of roses. Congratulations to writer Lars Andersen and to writer/director Ole Christian Madsen on producing a grown-up war movie that has nothing to do with the Pentagon or its suck-hole clients in Hollywood.
FLAMMEN & CITRONEN (FLAME AND CITRON) is a dark long film that will
prove to enlighten many about another aspect of WW II we know very
little. Written (with Lars Andersen) and directed by Ole Christian
Madsen it unfolds a true story about two 'heroes' of the Holger Danske
resistance moment, a large group of Danish citizens who fought to kill
not only the Nazi invaders but also the Danish supporters of Hitler's
movement: the heroes are Flame (Thure Lindhardt) and Citron (Mads
Mikkelsen) and the course of their lives is traced with brilliant use
of sound, cinematography, a pervading darkness which serves the story
well, and attention to minute details that makes the viewer almost
involuntarily involved with their mission, their plight and the final
results of their work.
In addition to the outstanding performances of Lindhardt and Mikkelsen, there are excellent performances by Christian Berkel as Hoffman, leader of the Gestapo, Stine Stengade as the puzzling spy/counterspy/ love interest Ketty Selmer, and a cast of bit players that remain in mind's eye long after the film is over. Though produced as an epic (and the film is a very very long 130 minutes!) the interaction between the lead characters is clearly defined and they come across as credible resistance fighters whose plight is always one of duress and fear.
As in all stories about war that are honest, there is no clear line between right and wrong, between survival and heroism, and it is to Madsen's credit that he keeps us in the shadows with every encounter. War is war and it alters everyone who is touched by it.
It is one of the movies I simply wanted too see. And i was not
disappointed. The actors are good, the feeling is like you live in the
40'es, and lot of things that really happened is in the movie, (and
some is left out, but the result is dramatically OK).
It is a movie fit for the big screen, it is delicious to watch in every way, and i give it a big 10, love the twist about the front figures versus their leaders pulling strings in the back. Thure Lindhardt is very convincing as the flame, he matches the picture i have of him since i first read about Flammen. Mads Mikkelsen does a good job, and Stine Stengade is lovely. Peter Mygind is often casted as a comic figure, nice to see him in a more semi dark role.
Flame and Citron (2008)
An intensely intense film. It has great intentions, and the protagonists go around shooting Danish Nazi types in the head, which was probably a pretty good things to do during the war, at least in movie terms. It's gritty and moody, it has tension and good music and great dramatic filming (the light and the camera-work are both very clean and yet provocative).
But this cinematic prowess gets in the way of the movie a little, and the plot is slow enough that you begin to watch the surfaces of things as you go. In fact, some of the scenes (eating around large tables, meeting in broad, gloomy, almost beautiful basements) are just too pretty to support the ugly events at hand. Or so it seems. It's a vivid film, and unique, and it is a must see for World War II film buffs, just because it's so honest and so different. There are not that many Danish films about the war to start with, compared to British and American (and German) efforts.
This one is very bloody, and ruthless in both its actions and in the telling of them. Kudos for that, but warnings, too. As pretty as the filming is, it isn't always easy to watch. But that's part of the point, getting to what rises above the mere action--is it okay to kill bad people without a trial, without warning, without knowing even if they are bad at all. What is okay in war? What do we come to justify later, or at the time?
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