Flame And Citron
The problem with films like Flame and Citron is that they make me feel so inadequate as a reviewer. I fail to see how I can do such a good movie justice with my grasp of literary prose, and all my attempts at writing turn out sounding like the stark ravings of a lunatic fanboy.
But I have to write a review, so I will approach it with a little history that will probably only reinforce my sounding like a frothing fanboy….
I desperately wanted to see Flame and Citron at last years Film Festival, but couldn’t make any screenings align with my ability to be in the city, so when I first heard that Vendetta was releasing it on DVD this year, my eager anticipation went into overdrive. I’m not sure why I was so interested in this particular film – sure I have an apparently unhealthy fixation on World War 2 – but this wasn’t a true war film. It was a Danish film based on the true exploits of two Danish resistance fighters in World War 2.
But there was just something about it that intrigued me. I somehow knew it was going to be a good film.
And this is where we get to the raving fan boy part of the review.
Even with my un-realistic expectations for Flame And Citron, I was blown away at just how good it was. Usually I come away from a film that I’ve high hopes for with a muted, it was quite good kind of feeling, but with Flame I can honestly say it was even better than I expected.
I’m not about to sit hear and tell you that it’s a perfect film and that you’re going to love it. The film starts off with grainy archival footage that is repeated a couple of times through the story – this is something that I hate – I think it’s cheap and would be better to recreate these seemingly generic scenes. Of course the director probably thinks it lends an air of authenticity to a historical tale.
And in most people’s eyes it probably does. Just not for me.
The film is about the antics of two of Denmark’s most celebrated resistance fighters, two guys who rather than blowing up trains and supply dumps, would rather be more direct and assassinate Nazi collaborators, newspaper editors and such. Eradicating the Nazi problem one person at a time.
The beauty of the film however is in the way their clear cut approach soon becomes a muddied mess when it appears the Gestapo have a mole in their organistaion and their boss soon gives them targets that seem to be more of a personal vendetta rather than legitimate targets.
Doubt and mistrust enter the equation and the hunters soon become hunted. Not just physically but emotionally and mentally as the two protagonists start doubting the legitimacy of everything they’ve done.
I could say more about the story – I want to say more – but I won’t. I will say that I was surprised at the emotional punch This story has, and that it is a finely crafted tale of passion and intrigue set to the backdrop of Nazi occupation.
Reviewed by: Jonathan Read
Release date: February 11th, 2010
Director: Madsen, Ole Christian
Languages: Danish, German
Stars: Jesper Christensen, Hanns Zischler, Flemming Enevold, Peter Mogge Mygind, Christian Berkel
Studio: Vendetta Films