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Danish screenwriter and director Ole Christian Madsen's fifth feature
film which he co-wrote with screenwriter Lars K. Andersen, is based on
real events. It was screened in the Contemporary World Cinema section
at the 33rd Toronto International Film Festival in 2008, in the Shows
section at the 35th Telluride Film Festival in 2008 and is a
Denmark-Germany-Norway-Czech Republic-Sweden co-production which was
shot on location in Denmark, Czech Republic and Germany and produced by
producer Lars Bredo Rahbek. It tells the story about a 23-year-old man
named Bent aka "Flammen" who lives with a married couple and a
33-year-old man named Jørgen aka "Citronen" who lives with his wife
Bodil and their daughter Anne in Copenhagen, who carries out illegal
operations for a police attorney named Aksel Winther.
Distinctly and engagingly directed by Danish filmmaker Ole Christian Madsen, this finely paced fictional tale which is narrated by and mostly from the main character's point of view, draws a moving portrayal of two members of the Danish resistance movement and their dedicated fight against Danish informants and Nazis. While notable for its naturalistic milieu depictions, sterling production design by Danish production designer Jette Lehmann, cinematography by Danish cinematographer Jørgen Johansson, costume design by Danish costume designer Manon Rasmussen, fine make-up by make-up artists Sabine Schumann and Jens Bartram and use of sound, this character-driven, narrative-driven and historic story depicts some dense studies of character and contains a good score by Danish composer Karsten Fundal.
This somewhat romantic and somewhat biographical neo-noir which is set during World War II and the German occupation of Denmark in the mid-1940s, centers on some of the many sabotage operations that was executed by two of the most prominent resistance fighters in the Holger Danske group and is impelled and reinforced by its cogent narrative structure, subtle character development, mysterious characters and the brilliant acting performances by Danish actors Thure Lindhardt, Mads Mikkelsen and Danish actress Stine Stengade. A consistently involving and memorable narrative feature which gained, among several other awards, the Bodil Award by Denmark's National Association of Film Critics for Best Cinematography Jørgen Johansson at the 62nd Bodil Awards in 2009.
I seek out everything WWII based & this was no exception. I'd been wanting to see this as soon as I heard about it. I especially wanted to see it because it has Mads Mikkelsen in it who most know from his turn as the bad guy in the Bond film "Casino Royale" but actually showed his acting ability in the little seen but excellent "After the Wedding." This overall although not a great film, still has quite a bit of charm & the story keeps you engaged as well. It seems many forget about Holland or the Netherlands (whatever you want to call it) & it's role during the War. It's films like this that help refresh peoples memories & it it doesn't hurt when it's done well too. If you enjoy WWII films then this is another that should be seen as it's a solid entry in the genre.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Mostly true (I've read there has been some changes) of two men known as
Flame (because of his red hair or because he smokes constantly?) and
Cintron (I'm guessing because of his car) who worked in the Resistance
in Denmark during the Second World War. They developed a reputation for
killing collaborators and spies. their activities have placed them high
on the Gestapo wanted list and yet the manage to breeze through to the
point that they often celebrate their success in bars that the Nazi's
hang out in. As 1944 goes on things begin to turn dark. Their friends
are being caught and killed, and they are getting mixed signals from
above. The British want them to continue the operation but the Danish
government in exile wants them to stop because their activities are
causing reprisals. More dangerously Flame has has become interested in
a woman who he's been warned to stay away from.
Beautiful war film is at times haunting and heart breaking. It has sequences that turn your stomach at the prospect of being in a similar situation. It has the look and feel of an old style Hollywood film mixed with the brutality of todays films. The film reminded me of the look of Ang Lee's Lust Caution which had an unbeatable sense of place and time and style. Its also a little brother to Melville's heart rending masterpiece Army of Shadows. Wonderfully acted this is a film where you really like the characters and feel that even the small parts have a sense of weight.
As good as the film is, the film never quite achieves the greatness the film seems destined for in the early going. As much as I like the feel of the film, there are times when it seems a bit too Hollywood. The femme fatale story line is too cliché for a film that for the most part not cliché. There are also some odd moments that seems to speak more of being great on screen rather than true to the events as depicted in the film (in particular the end of two of the characters). The little bits don't destroy the film they just take what starts as a great film and make it something thats in the end very good.
I recommend it. Between 7 and 8 out of 10 (I saw this on IFC in Theater's pay per view service and kind of regret doing so. The look of the film is so good that I kind of wished I had seen this on a truly big screen.)
I already reviewed this title but for some reason my first review did
not pass. Let me try again.
This is an excellent WWII film. There were many films made about this period, this one is focusing on the Danish resistance. We enjoyed excellent acting, interesting plot, good visual effects. If you are into WWII films I would strongly recommend that you obtain this film and watch it.
Is plot realistic? It is hard to tell, Danish resistance was not very much talked about after WWII.
I am glad that European film making is continuing and that it produces such a good films. I would like that Europe continues making films similar to this, very interesting and dynamic.
An authentic, richly detailed political thriller that powerfully
captures an overlooked piece of history--the resistance to the Nazi
occupation in Denmark. The anti- "Inglorious Basterds''- a story about
heroic Nazi killers in which heroism itself sinks under bewildering
crosscurrents of motive and uncertainty. Breathtaking cinematography
with style to spare, accompanied with an engaging fact based storyline
leads to an extraordinarily well-done film directed by Ole Christian
Madson. However and collectively, this film isn't about Nazis or the
Danish resistance per say, or the things people did to survive--it's
about romancing these heroic figures in spectacular style.
The setting is in Copenhagen near the end of the Nazi occupation, and D-Day is fast approaching when the movie begins. Flammen (Thure Lindhardt) and Citronen (Mads Mikkelsen) are unlikely partners in the resistance. The former is a flame-haired youngster who kills without reservation, (except for women and children)--while the older is the driver, who is torn between providing for a better life for his wife and daughter, and his allegiance to the 'greater cause.' Flame and Citron are assassins in an underground organization eliminating Danish citizens who have embraced the occupation and joined German forces. They are concerned with the bureaucracy of organized violent resistance - an interesting angle. The two heroes would prefer to be freelancers, but they have orders and they must follow. Their situation becomes more desperate and dangerous for the increasingly isolated pair when a traitor was suspected in the ranks of the resistance when several of its members end up dead. Knowing whom to trust becomes impossible when their mission is now in question. The movie often feels more like film noir than a war picture both in the way it is shot and in the manner in which the characters are portrayed. Flame and Citron lurk in the shadows and corridors--Tommy guns are emptied into motorcars, as well as their occupants with great flair. "Flame and Citron'' is torn between honoring and subverting the rules of the WWII resistance genre, and it insists on seeing the two leads as heroes-- even as events spiral downward beyond their control. The anti-Nazi righteousness we crave from our movie devolves into paranoia, wrongful death, and a bleak landscape in which allegiances can never be pinned down. The script (based on actual events) by Madsen and Lars Andersen, wades right into the ambiguity of wartime morals and self-deceit.
Despite being a gorgeous period noir, "Flame & Citron" reminds us that assassins like these may have earned a heroic status for their cause and actions, but they also killed innocent people along the way. Though the material might lend itself to heavy- handedness, director Ole Christian Madsen is steady in his approach, and he gets terrific performances from the two leads. Resistance isn't futile, but it does come with its own terrible cost.
I find this story as powerful as other more well known historically accurate pictures. Schindler's List comes to mind. The two tell similarly obscure stories for an American in an impressive way. What I liked the most about Flame & Citron is its examination of personal mores in a desperate situation, across a diverse collection of individuals and roles. Assassins must weigh God-given moral boundaries against the "all's fair in war" freedom. Controller has to balance his devotion (or lack of it) to the resistance with the need to function openly in occupied Denmark. Informer must balance love for individual, hatred of war/Nazis, and desperate need to survive war. Story was powerfully told; I'd like to see an Eng. language production of the same, with as many performers from original as possible. Mads Mikkelsen's Citronen was particularly strong character. Less known history of WII is still as captivating and moving as ever.
This is one of those Danish films which are attracting so much attention these days, and the actor Lars Mikkelsen who played Troels in season one of THE KILLING a year earlier (2007, see my review) even appears in it. It is a harrowing and ultimately sad tale, 'based on a true story'. It depicts the attempts by the Danish Resistance (all two of them, Flammen og Citronen) to struggle against the Nazi Occupation of Denmark. In that respect, it offers a view of a familiar subject in an unfamiliar setting, and is of considerable interest. The action is exciting but the film has a downbeat quality, because the Resistance keeps getting betrayed and whacked. The character called Flame has red hair, hence his nick-name, and is too brave to bother covering it up most of the time, though once in a while he is persuaded to wear a beret in the hope that at least his flame-red head will be a bit less obvious on his Resistance missions. He goes around murdering collaborators but is under strict orders not to murder Nazis themselves. It is a pity he didn't get more collaborators, but then there are always so many of such vermin whenever a country is occupied. There is a very pleasant large café where Flame and Citron and their friends foregather, with Nazi officers often sitting very near them. Considering how well known Flame was meant to be as a 'terrorist', I can't understand why he was never arrested in the café. But then that's the movies, I guess. The film is extremely well made, with a great deal of tension and suspense. The director, Ole Madsen, is highly talented. The performances by Thure Lindhardt and Mads Mikkelsen as Flame and Citron are very good. Lindhardt has appeared in 57 titles despite his youth, and Mikkelsen in 41. We have to remember that all these Danish people who are largely unknown to us are really highly experienced pros in their field, and that Denmark has produced more than just the film director Carl Dreyer whose work we all know and love. Other people have made films there too since the silent days, and because we find it difficult to distinguish between Swedes, Norwegians, and Danes (they have no such problems distinguishing between each other, and indeed do nothing but grumble about one another the whole time and ridicule each other's accents), we have often not realized who was really a Dane. For instance, the director Henning Carlsen who filmed Knut Hamsun's HUNGER (1966) was not a Norwegian at all, but a Dane, strange as that may seem. (And Per Oscarsson the actor who played Hamsun was a Swede.) One day we may get all of our Scandinavians sorted out and differentiate between all their broad vowel sounds, pinpointing the origin of each. (Swedes seem to be the broadest, Danes the most clipped and they use '-sen' endings on names instead of '-son'.) But until that day comes, we should keep an eye on those Danes, because they seem to be up to things. And this Danish film is well worth watching.
This is the story of two men known as Flame and Citron who worked in the Resistance in Denmark during the WWII. They developed a reputation for killing collaborators and spies. Their activities have placed them high on the Gestapo wanted list and yet they manage to escape notice to the point that they often celebrate their success in bars that the Nazi's hang out in. As 1944 goes on things begin to turn dark. Their friends are being caught and killed, and they are getting mixed signals from about their status. The British want them to continue the operation but the Danish government in exile wants them to stop because their activities are causing reprisals. More so, Flame gets in a dangerous situation where he becomes interested in a woman who he's been warned to avoid. This movie is the most expensive Danish movie ever made, and the $10 million budget also helps creating nice action scenes when the pair has showdowns with Gestapo officers. It is an inspiring story but the story never gets really gripping or intense although showing us the intrigues in the grey zone of contacts, unreliable agents and messages. The movie casting was generally OK for me. Thure Lindhardt has charisma as the hardcore red-haired main person, and Mads Mikkelsen does an acceptable job as Citronen. Their nemesis, Gestapo leader Hoffmann, is played well by Christian Berkel (the bald doctor from Der Untergang). The movie was not filmed in Copenhagen, where the story takes place, which makes the atmosphere even less than authentic but there are beautiful shots of the Scandinavian countryside plus panoramic views of the cities. It's a fascinating subject and I enjoyed this movie. If you like this movie, you will probably also like the Norwegian "Max Manus" (based on books written by one of Norway's most well known saboteurs from WWII. (His name is Max Manus, and his two books from 1945/46 are absolutely worth a read.) cinematography excellent but fast and loose with the zoom at times. 4 stars excellent movie with kind of a revisionist scrutiny.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Reputedly based on a true story. I want to take nothing from any
resistance worker but I query a lot about what was in this particular
Was Denmark the only country in occupied Europe where assassinations weren't followed by swift and brutal reprisals? There is no mention of them until a small example later in the film. The strange example of throwing a grenade into a tram sounds very untypical as an act of reprisal.
Was Denmark the only country in occupied Europe where there weren't regular identity checks from the police and Gestapo? We only see two. The rest of the time these two people are allowed to travel around the city wherever they like. Even when the police arrive at the café where they've just had a gun battle and drive off in sight of the arriving police, but nobody stops them or follows them So they went around assassinating whoever they liked, even though most of them turned out to be innocent, and they still got rewarded with medals? Citron seemed to be surviving on pills, Flame refused to dye his trade-mark red hair. Did they want to be caught? With some decent direction and a story that made us care about, or even be interested in a few more of the characters, this could have been a good film - but sadly, it isn't
Nice and interesting war story, pretty enjoyable movie. Well known Danish film school, one of the best if not the best. Mads Mikkelsen interesting and excellent as always, but probably not for the roll he played. Also not the best casting when it comes to main role, even though Thure Lindhardt is a good actor. What I liked especially speaking of this film is superb recreation of Copenhagen during WWII and very authentic scenes of street fights and assassinations (well, maybe the word "like" is not proper for the last one). Very convincing. The story of two war heroes is very unique, makes no glorifications or suggestions who will you like or dislike. Good art work. The only bigger problem this film has if you ask me are very often too long shots and extended scenes more proper for the theater than film.
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