‘Flame and Citron’: Tension keeps you engaged in resistance story

  • By Robert Horton Herald Movie Critic
  • Thursday, December 17, 2009 3:48pm
  • LifeGo-See-Do

As resistance movements go, the story of Danes in World War II is not one of the more famous. But “Flame and Citron,” the most expensive movie ever produced in Denmark, might rectify that.

Based on a couple of real-life figures from the war, this is an effective study of defiance under occupation. But, like Steven Spielberg’s “Munich,” it doesn’t shirk the complexities of such a movement.

The title refers to the code names of two underground anti-Nazi fighters. Flame, played by Thure Lindhardt (“Angels and Demons”), is known for his bright red hair and his cool commitment to killing Danish traitors; Citron (Mads Mikkelsen, the villain from “Casino Royale”) is a wheel man with a much more conflicted attitude about their jobs.

When it’s not depicting the hit squad in action, the film bounces between debates about how to resist and whose orders to follow, a structure that suggests the chaos of living in a loosely connected underground movement.

Flame meets a woman (Stine Stengade), who is mysteriously connected to his immediate superior. Her story is also threaded through the film’s 130 minutes, teasing us with how exactly she fits into the allegiances in this world.

Although the film is more than two hours long, it maintains a taut tension throughout. Of course, anybody who makes a film about rebels in occupied territory has a built-in shortcut to suspense: Every time Flame and Citron enter a bar or cafe, they run the risk of being seized by an SS soldier. No wonder people keep telling Flame to dye his hair.

Director Ole Christian Madsen’s previous film, “Prague,” was an interesting effort, but this is a much bigger-scaled (dare I say more Hollywood?) enterprise. The period trappings are handsome, but they don’t detract from the absorbing main characters.

“Flame and Citron” has become a huge hit in Denmark, understandably so. Lindhardt and Mikkelsen are both big stars in their native country (and have been getting nice roles in U.S. films of late) and they’re well suited to their parts: Lindhardt’s expert killer is not as cold-blooded as he appears and Mikkelsen’s reluctant assassin is a jittery, sweaty mess.

The whole thing plays like a good miniseries — not a classic, but a good piece of work that explores the toll taken on fighters, even if the cause is apparently good.

“Flame and Citron”

Based on fact, this tale of the underground resistance in Nazi-occupied Denmark during World War II has a built-in suspense and the appeal of a good miniseries. Two of Denmark’s best-known actors, Thure Lindhardt and Mads Mikkelsen, play the resistance assassins. In Danish, with English subtitles.

Rated: Not rated; probably R for violence

Showing: Varsity

Talk to us

More in Life

Andrew Vait, left to right, Annie Jantzer and Linzy Collins of The Little Lies rehearses Monday evening in Everett, Washington on May 16, 2022. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Music, theater and more: What’s happening in Snohomish County

The Music at the Marina series concludes today with The Little Lies, a Fleetwood Mac tribute band.

Josh Haazard Stands inside his workspace, the HaazLab, where he creates a variety of cosplay props and other creative gadgets, on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022, at his home in Monroe, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
This contraption crafter turns junk into sci-fi weaponry

Joshamee “The Chief” Haazard is a costume prop maker in Monroe. He transforms trash into treasure.

For your kids’ sake, stress less about their grades this school year

Don’t make a big deal over grades. Instead, encourage out-of-classroom activities and remember, learning is supposed to be fun.

At the prehistoric fortress of Dun Aengus, the dramatic west cliffs of Ireland meet the turbulent sea as Europe comes to an abrupt end. (Rick Steves' Europe)
Enjoy the simple life on Ireland’s starkly beautiful Aran Islands

Three limestone islands make up the Aran Islands: Inishmore, Inishmaan, and Inisheer.

American Queen changes COVID protocols; can I get a refund?

fter American Queen changes its COVID protocols, Patricia Voorhees Furlong and her husband want to skip their river cruise. Is that allowed? Or, will they lose out on $7,858?

Erika Weinert, an Everett-based mother, editor and now author, sits at her home workspace and holds her first published book, “Cursing with Style” on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
What the @#$%! Everett mom publishes a dictionary of curse words

Erika M. Weinert, 42, a copy editor who does business as The Werd Nerd, wrote “Cursing with Style.”

The 2022 Lexus GX has a 301-horsepower V8 engine, six-speed automatic transmission, and full time all-wheel drive. (Lexus)
Updated 2022 Lexus GX 460 expands list of standard features

Navigation and a 10.3-inch multimedia system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are included.

Bruce Johnson has an exhibit on the history of clowns at the Lynnwood Library in Lynnwood, Washington on August 11, 2022. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Clown historian takes the funny business very seriously

Bruce Johnson, a.k.a “Charlie the Juggling Clown,” wants to pass his craft down to future generations.

Ella Larson, left, and Simon Fuentes sort through blueberries at Hazel Blue Acres on Friday, Aug. 12, 2022 in Arlington, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Fruits, flowers and bees aplenty in Arlington farm fete

First-ever event highlights local growers’ bounty and contributions to local community

A bald eagle flys over Howarth Park back to it’s perch on Friday, April 22, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Learn how to photograph birds in three-part workshop

Participants will learn to make appealing, sharp bird photos even if they are new to photography.

The Snohomish County PUD recently installed two electric vehicle fast chargers adjacent to public parking stalls on the north side of the Electric Building.
PUD installs fast chargers for electric vehicle drivers

Funding for the t62.5-kilowatt chargers came in part from fines paid by Volkswagen over its 2015 diesel engine scandal.

Airbnb host cancels, and now he has to pay $1,300 more

When Curtis Rahman’s Airbnb host cancels his reservation a day before his arrival, he tries to find a substitute apartment. But the new property is smaller and costs more. Is a $200 credit enough to make up for the trouble?