Flame and Citron (2008)
Interviews-Cast-Al Jazeera interview with Mads Mikkelsen (aka Citron)
Interviews-Cast-Thure Lindhardt (aka Flame)
Interviews-Crew-Ole Christian Madsen (Writer / Director)
Notes-A Nation Under Occupation
|Year Of Production||2008|
|Running Time||130:19 (Case: 135)|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Ole Christian Madsen|
Claus Riis Østergaard
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
Danish Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Danish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||English (Burned In)||Smoking||Yes, constantly|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
“There is no just and unjust; there is war”
When the Germans invaded and occupied Denmark in 1941 they faced minimal resistance and, in fact, the Danish Government remained in place and urged Danes to collaborate with the Germans. This peaceful co-existence lasted for a couple of years but as the war turned against Germany at Stalingrad in 1943 their occupation of Denmark became more oppressive and resistance groups began to form. One such group in Copenhagen was Holger Danske; two of its members were Bent Fauerschou-Hviid (codename “Flame”) and Jorgen Haagen Schmidt (codename “Citron”) who became heroes of the resistance. Based on real events, Flammen & Citronen (Flame + Citron) is their story.
Flame + Citron, while based on real people, does not shy away from controversial material. Red-haired Flame (Thure Lindhardt) is the more cold-blooded psychopath of the two undertaking his killings in a dispassionate manner: he is “not killing people, but Nazis”, although initially he draws the line at killing women. Citron (Mads Mikkelsen) is a family man estranged from his wife and young daughter. He is a Danish patriot, killing in the name of his country. Also on the scene is beautiful Ketty Selmer (Stine Stengade) with whom Flame falls in love. But just who is she really working for? The Resistance, the Danish Government or the Germans?
The Holger Danske group receive their orders from Police Solicitor Aksel Winther (Peter Mygind). Initially their targets are Danish collaborators but when, on Winther’s express orders, they target German officers, plus individuals who seem to have little connection to the Germans, something seems amiss. Does Winther have his own agenda? As well, the Gestapo, led by the charming Hoffmann (Christian Berkel), have an informer within the resistance group. As members of the group are rounded up and shot, Flame and Citron must try to stay alive, expose the traitor and, if possible, assassinate Hoffmann before he finds them.
Flame + Citron is an intelligent, exciting and tense film from director Ole Christian Madsen that works because it is a personal story of the two men who are seldom off screen. Indeed, the film is told from Flame’s perspective: for both men we see their doubts, their confusion and their fatalism. Because of this focus, we as the audience know only what they see; we are taken on their journey and like them we never quite know just who to trust. Both Thure Lindhardt and Mads Mikkelsen are excellent; they give a nuance and a depth to their characters who could have easily just been “hero” assassins. They question the morality of what they are doing, have doubts and insecurities. Are they good men, driven to extreme action in extreme circumstances or bad men for whom the war provides an outlet? Is it true there is “ no just and unjust; there is war”? The Germans are also not caricatures and both Christian Berkel as Hoffman and Hanns Zischler as Colonel Gilbert, who may or may not be part of the German officer resistance to Hitler, come across as plausible human beings. And Stine Stengade in the pivotal role of Ketty keeps the right balance of mystery and allure right until the end.
Flame + Citron is an excellent film questioning the morality of actions in wartime, and war itself. As well as an intelligent script and good acting, Flame + Citron looks great (it was shot mainly in Prague standing in for Copenhagen and won a 2009 Danish Bodil Award for cinematographer Jorgen Johansson), it builds a wonderful tension in numerous scenes, explodes into intense action scenes and has a great score. Highly recommended.
Flame + Citron is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, the original theatrical ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced. This is a great print. Sharpness is excellent, blacks and shadow detail are fine, brightness, contrast and skin tones natural, colours are also natural although pale, perhaps reflecting the northern climate and wartime austerity. I did not notice any artefacts.
The English subtitles are forced in a white font which is on the small side but are clear to read. There are some inconsistencies in the spelling – honour but jail – but no grammatical errors.
Audio is a choice between Danish Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448 Kbps and Danish Dolby Digital 2.0 at 192 Kbps. The 5.1 is excellent. Dialogue was clear, channels have separation and clarity, the surrounds are used for panning effects, such as bullet hits, music and Foley effects and the sub woofer did support the action appropriately without going over the top. The audio will not knock the walls over but does a good job and is very effective.
Lip synchronisation is fine.
The music by Karsten Fundal is moody without being bombastic and is an effective support for the film’s visuals.
|Surround Channel Use|
This was made at a screening of the film. Mikkelsen is asked questions by the audience and the unnamed female presenter. It includes a summary of his career, including some sequences from his earlier films, including Casino Royale. In English: informative and interesting.
Lindhardt speaks (in English) about his character in the film, his research for the part playing a real person and working with the director. Worth a look once.
Madsen is an open, interesting and humorous speaker and talks (in English) about the genesis of the film 8 years ago, his research, the controversial aspects of the film within Denmark dealing with the collaboration of the Danish Government with the German occupying forces, dramatising “true” events, the style of the film and the fate of the German head of the Gestapo in Copenhagen.
6 pages of silent text providing facts about the German occupation of Denmark and the various resistance groups.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
There is currently a number of Region 2 versions of the film including UK, Danish, French DVDs and a Region B Blu-ray. I cannot find a Region 1 version at this time. Most the other versions seem to have most of the same extras as our version; none have any more. Draw.
Flame + Citron is an intelligent war drama with a good script, good acting, it looks great, builds a wonderful tension in numerous scenes, explodes into intense action scenes and has a great score.
The DVD comes with very good video and audio, and a nice range of extras. Highly recommended.
|DVD||Sony BDP-S350, using HDMI output|
|Display||LG 42inch Hi-Def LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||NAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.|
|Speakers||Studio Acoustics 5.1|