A dark retelling of WWII resistance fighters and Danish heroes, codenamed Flammen and Citronen.
Directed by Ove Christian Madsen
Starring Mads Mikkelson and Thure Lindhardt
Initial Review by Sean Riley
When Winther then orders them to kill a new informant Ketty Sellmer who happens to be Flame’s kinda new girlfriend the confusion really sets in for him. She claims innocence and produces evidence that Winther is just tying up loose ends that will make him look bad after the war. Who is telling the truth? Who is lying? Personally I think they both are telling the truth and they’re both lying. That is one of the strong threads in the film that it’s not 100% clear who is providing information and why and it’s up to the viewer to choose who to believe in the moment as it is with Flame and Citron. Flame’s love for Ketty has him believe her until he gets more information and then as he sees her again. Each meeting Ketty provides just enough information to avoid him killing her. Sidebar on Ketty- if I’m a wanted man with a large bounty on my head I try to avoid meeting new people.
Eventually Flame and Citron attempt to go rogue and kill the head of the Gestapo. The Mexican standoff in the hallway between Flame and Hoffman is my 2nd favorite scene to mention- Hoffman is eventually able to get Flame to realize the options are both live to fight another day, both die now, or wait for the police/German military to show up and only Flame and all his friends die. Great tension shown here. We also get to meet Hoffman who seems much like Gilbert earlier to not be 100% evil as he had been made out to be. The end of the movie when he yells at his men for taking pictures with Flame and Citron’s bodies support his less than pure evil depiction in this scene.
Almost immediately after we get another almost great scene in Stockholm with Winther and the other decision makers trying to convince Flame and Citron to abandon the assassinations and take commissions in the military. The tension is turned to 11 here but the scene felt like it was cut short and could’ve been more. Very good but not quite great.
Eventually, Citron goes down in a very Butch and Sundance style fight while Flame bites his cyanide pill. That we see Ketty getting paid the reward doesn’t convince me she’s the bad guy. I very much think she did what she felt she had to for her survival, but the information about Winther was also true of what he was doing for his own survival.
Great performances, direction set the tone well and some great scenes make for a great movie. Citron’s family stuff is a bit on the negative side as they didn’t add anything for me. Interesting to note, there was some controversy in Denmark that Flame and Citron were not portrayed more heroically. This is a positive for me. The thing about heroes is they’re always just people who through their actions become heroic. I’m going A. It’d be A+ if not for the slowish beginning and Citron’s boring family.
“Where do we go after this? When it’s all over. I don’t know. Can we ever go back? Can we ever go forward? Perhaps. Perhaps not. At this moment there is only The Flame.”