Flame & Citron

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Marshalling a larger budget and cast than he had for his earlier TV and Dogme-style projects, Danish director Ole Christian Madsen tackles a more traditional World War II resistance thriller with seductive, gently modernising, often compelling results. It’s set in 1944 in Copenhagen, where two underground ‘partisans’, unshaven, married Jørgen (Mads ‘Le Chiffre’ Mikkelsen) and younger, more charismatic Bent (Thure Lindhardt) – codenamed Citron and Flame, and based on real people – have already achieved heroic status for smuggling British pilots by night and assassinating Nazis by day.

But as the year progresses, the personal cost to the pair escalates. The contradictory orders of their British and government-in-exile commanders, the killing of unintended victims and their inability to discern friend from foe among colleagues and superiors all force the pair to question their motives for such personal sacrifice.

It’s episodic and lengthy, but on the whole this is a well-sustained and surprisingly understated drama. Notable is the extent to which the director achieves a sense of psychological complexity – and a pervasive atmosphere of fear and confusion – without sacrificing the rhythm and dramatic tension necessary to a war film. He’s aided no end by unfussy, well-mounted action sequences and his cinematographer Jørgen Johansson’s nice compromise between atmospheric, noir-esque period evocation and modern widescreen stylings, with excellent use of low-key lighting, silhouettes and location. Credible cameos, too, from such as Hanns Zischler and Christian Berkel (as a Wehrmacht and a Gestapo officer) alongside the excellent, contained performances of the leads help lift this film out of the ordinary.

Release details

Rated: 15
Release date: Friday March 6 2009
Duration: 130 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Ole Christian Madsen
Screenwriter: Ole Christian Madsen, Lars K. Andersen
Cast: Mads Mikkelsen
Thure Lindhardt
Stine Stengade

Average User Rating

4.4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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LiveReviews|6
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Robert Thornton

Far superior to "Army of Crime" which was a similiar theme about French resistance. The manipulation of the two partisans was very tense this is quite an exceptional film of the genre.

Robert Thornton

Far superior to "Army of Crime" which was a similiar theme about French resistance. The manipulation of the two partisans was very tense this is quite an exceptional film of the genre.

jimmy

understated movie of the year, also one of the most expensive Danish films ever, i believe.

jimmy

understated movie of the year, also one of the most expensive Danish films ever, i believe.

Jon

Thought this was a powerful film with good performances by the leads. Was gripping and tense as they went about their work. Gave a great sense of what it would be like to be in an occupied country. Despite not believing how they weren't arrested earlier - just went with it & enjoyed it.

Suzy

I'm surprised no-one has commented on this excellent film which I saw at the local arthouse cinema. It tells the story of the resistance in Denmark and is fast paced at times, yet informative with well developed characters. Even my friend who doesn't like war films enjoyed this one. Thought provoking and entertaining.