Flame & Citron
Review by Jack Foley
DANISH Second World War heroes Flame and Citron are placed under the deserved spotlight in Ole Christian Madsen’s absorbing thriller, which is well worth seeing if you’ve recently enjoyed the likes of Black Book and Female Agents.
Thure Lindhardt and former Casino Royale villain Mads Mikkelsen play the two heroes in question, two members of the Holger Danske resistance group who carried out assassinations of German officers in Nazi occupied Denmark in 1944.
Their task becomes more dangerous, however, when a bounty is placed on their heads and when Flame is asked to kill his girlfriend, Ketty (Stine Stengade), who subsequently casts doubt on who the real enemy is.
Madsen maintains that Flame & Citron is the result of a “monumental amount of ground-breaking research of actual historical events” that he carried out with screenwriter Lars K Anderson over the course of several years, including interviews with numerous survivors and eye witnesses, many of whom have since died.
And his film convincingly portrays the period well, channelling the fear and paranoia that comes with being a resistance fighter, as well as the distrust and moral repercussions.
Mikkelsen, in particular, channels this well, wearing the look of a worried man and appearing in a near-constant state of perspiration.
The set pieces, too, are well orchestrated – particularly during the final showdown – and viewers are kept on their toes attempting to work out which characters can really be trusted.
It’s just that Flame & Citron is so workmanlike in places, that its attention to detail and accuracy comes at the expense of emotion and, sadly, deprives the film of the impact it should have delivered during its final sacrifice and tragedy. It’s also very long.
But if you’re a fan of World War II movies in general, this is a worthy addition to the genre that does succeed in paying noble tribute to the exploits of its protagonists and casting them in a suitably heroic light.
In Danish and German with subtitles
Running time: 130mins
UK DVD & Blu-ray Relase: June 29, 2009