Flammen & Citronen

Flame and Citron, Mads Mikkelsen, Thure Lindhardt

(photo: upload.wikimedia.org)

Wandering the Internet, I found reference to this 2008 Danish drama (trailer) about Danish resistance fighters during the Nazi occupation. Flame and Citron being their noms de guerre, one for the man’s flaming red hair and the other for his having bombed the Citroën auto factory. Directed by Ole Christian Madsen.

The film is loosely based on two real-life and much-decorated fighters, Bent Faurschou-Hviid, played by Thure Lindhardt, and Jørgen Haagen Schmith, played by Mads Mikkelsen—looking, as always, like he just ate a bad oyster. They start their train of murders with Danish collaborators, in order to minimize German reprisals, but when they branch out, it gets complicated. Where are their orders coming from? Are they killing collaborators or innocent Danes? The ambiguity and hesitation they feel seems much more real to me than the Killing Machine assassins of so many films.

The fractures in human relationships and trust that occur in such pressure-cooker situations are not a surprise, and the denouement is over-long, but the movie is compelling and well acted. It was nominated for numerous awards, winning several. Rotten Tomatoes critics rating: 87%; viewers 82%. “To its credit, the film gives full weight to the confusion and ambivalence of war; the struggle for liberation from tyranny rarely looks so dubious,” said Colin Covert in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.