By John M. Urbancich
Nazi aggression spread through most of Europe during World War II, even including Denmark, as “Flame & Citron” often intensely exhibits. The title comes from nicknames for real-life spy/assassins: red-haired “Flame,” Bent Faurschou-Hvid (Thure Lindhardt) and Jorgen Haagen Schmith (Mads Mikkelsen), a guy best known for sabotaging cars, “Citron.” He’s portrayed by the actor best known as Daniel Craig’s nasty nemesis in “Casino Royale.”
Each Danish freedom fighter obviously also displays his own personality traits, and not all are as perfect as their patriotic cause, that is, to let nothing get in the way of killing German collaborators.
The way director and co-writer Ole Christian Madsen tells it, though, some serious politics and certainly backdoor intrigue intrude upon their obsession. Their superiors give conflicting directions, and orders arrive as often from outside the country as they do from within Copenhagen.
In other words, our heroes occasionally can’t tell a Nazi without a scorecard, or even a decent Dane from a double-dealing dame.
That might be a way to describe the mysterious Ketty (Stine Stengade), a noir-ish beauty courted by young Flame from the earliest moments of the film. On the other hand, the older Citron seems much more pained by his work, having already lost his family with such avid devotion to the resistance.
The cinematic tale of “Flammen” and “Citronen” (their original Danish monikers) deservedly became a huge hit in their home country. At best, overseas viewing likely will bring it notice as a serviceable historical thriller.
Rated: Not rated
Stars: Mads Mikkelsen, Thure Lindhardt, Stine Stengade
Director: Ole Christian Madsen
Studio/Official Site: http://www.ifcfilms.com/films/flame-citron
Photos courtesy IFC Films.
[John M. Urbancich is a Cleveland-based reporter who has reviewed movies and written film features and celebrity profiles at Cleveland’s Sun Newspapers for 25 years. As a longtime member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association, his work has also been appearing on the Sun News website for more than a decade.]