Flame & Citron (2008)
User ReviewsAdd a Review
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".
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
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.
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
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.
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?