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August 3, 2009 | by  | in Film |
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Flame & Citron

film

Flame and Citron is the story of the Danish resistance during World War II. It focuses on the titular characters of Flammen (Thure Lindhardt) and Citronen (Mads Mikkelsen), two men who are charged with the assassination of collaborators with the Nazis. The already muddy and grey events begin to go even more pear shaped as Flame meets Ketty (Stine Stengade), a classic femme fatale with constantly shifting, nebulous allegiances. Things become even more bleak and complicated as questions are raised about the source of and motive behind their targets.

The two leads take parallel, but inverse paths. Flame becomes more and more disillusioned with his wet work as Citron slowly changes from nervous, family man to cold-blooded killer. The two lead performances are notably worthy, each making the most of the sometimes overly archetypal characters. The supporting cast do very good work too, but sometimes just not enough to avoid being overshadowed by the two leads.

Flame is, somewhat famously, the most expensive film made in Denmark to date and it shows. It, rather jarringly, cuts from intense character study and wonderfully modulated questions of morality during war time to splashy action sequences. Director, Ole Christian Madsen, works well within both forms but they still somewhat clash with each other rather annoyingly. The slickness and occasional coolness of their hits and inevitable final stands somewhat undercuts the ‘war is a gritty grey hell’ tone of the rest of the film. When a hit goes wrong and these two styles suddenly collide and intermingle is the film’s crowning moment of awesome and this reviewer only wished that there had been more moments like this. The script by Madsen and Lars Andersen is wonderfully shaped and paced, letting the story tell itself without ever really melting down into pointless blah.

There is a lot to like about Flame and Citron and the direction and lead performances are more than strong enough to distract you from the occasional stylistic blips.

Flame & Citron
Directed by Ole Christian Madsen
Written by Lars Andersen and Ole Christian Madsen
With Thure Lindhardt, Mads Mikkelsen, Stine Stengade, Peter Mygind, Mille Lehfeldt, Christian Berkel and Hanns Zischler

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About the Author ()

Uther was one of the two arts editors in 2009. He was the horoscopier and theatre writer in 2010. Alongside Elle Hunt, Uther was coeditor in 2011.

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