Film Review: Flame and Citron

9 Mar

Opening in 1944 Nazi-occupied Copenhagen with its two leads, Flame (Thure Lindhardt) and Citron (Mads Mikkelsen), on another mission for the Danish resistance, Flame and Citron’s tone is set from the off: brutal, slick and thoughtful, this is a film to be savoured

Apparently fearless in the face of the enemy, Bent Faurschou-Hviid aka “Flame” is a committed anti-fascist, willing to kill those collaborating with the enemy in the name of his country. Meanwhile, Flame’s driver Jorgen Haagen Schmith aka “Citron” is slowly coming to realise that he can’t avoid wielding a gun himself if he’s going to support his fellow freedom fighter.

As the demands made by the resistance leaders get increasingly unreasonable, the two men start to question exactly what is being asked of them, while the words of a potential target causes even more doubt in Flame’s mind and a beautiful woman threatens to destroy everything he’s worked for.

Based on real life events and following several years of research, director Ole Christian Madsen and screenwriter Lars K Anderson have crafted a script that is a near-perfect balance of action and drama. Intelligent dialogue is shot through with black humour and standout moments that pull the rug out from under the audience are peppered between the character development.

Dark without being depressing, thrilling without veering towards cheap thrills, this is a film that draws the viewer into a world where death is an everyday occurrence, getting through it more chance than skill.

Both Lindhardt and Mikkelsen give nuanced performances that make the characters come to life, Mikkelsen in particular a million miles away from his suave Le Chiffre from Casino Royale. He is the film’s real revelation, his oily, sweating face covered in stubble for the duration, his eyes betraying the fear and helplessness going on inside his head as events spiral out of control.

Music plays an important part in Flame and Citron, Karsten Fundal’s gorgeous score underlining both the quieter moments and the action scenes with a sombre melody that suits the darkness of Copenhagen’s rainy streets and grey-suited characters.

Offering a rare insight into an important time in Denmark’s history while giving thriller fans something to chew on, I can’t praise Flame and Citron highly enough and would urge everyone to catch it on the big screen while they can.

Flame and Citron is out now in UK cinemas.

Watch the Flame and Citron trailer:


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