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74

Generally favorable reviews - based on 20 Critics What's this?

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8.4

Universal acclaim- based on 25 Ratings

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  • Summary: Based on true events and developed from eyewitness accounts during World War II, Ole Christian Madsen's political thriller Flame & Citron is an ultra-stylized and remarkable spy noir about the murky moral complexities of wartime. Copenhagen, 1944. World War II is entering its final stretchBased on true events and developed from eyewitness accounts during World War II, Ole Christian Madsen's political thriller Flame & Citron is an ultra-stylized and remarkable spy noir about the murky moral complexities of wartime. Copenhagen, 1944. World War II is entering its final stretch in Europe. Denmark is occupied by Nazi Germany. Two resistance fighters nicknamed Flame and Citron become heroes of the underground dealing violently with traitors to their cause. When the pair is sent to execute Flame's lover Ketty, the line between ally and enemy is blurred forcing them to determine their own orders which starts with killing the much hated and feared chief of the Gestapo - Karl Heinz Hoffman. Variety's Todd McCarthy calls it, "Absorbing...accomplished. More than enough dark turns and unsettling moods to justify the comparison to Melville's ARMY OF SHADOWS." (IFC Films) Expand
  • Director: Ole Christian Madsen
  • Genre(s): Drama, History, Thriller, Crime, War
  • Rating: Unrated
  • Runtime: 130 min
  • More Details and Credits »
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 20
  2. Negative: 0 out of 20
  1. Though the material might lend itself to heavy-handedness, director Ole Christian Madsen is steady, and he gets fine performances from the two leads and Stengade.
  2. A pretty good example of the kind of movie Hollywood used to turn out by the yard.
  3. A deeply involving look at people living permanently on the knife-edge of danger, Flame & Citron does more than radically rethink the World War II resistance drama. Its biggest accomplishment may be to make these historical conflicts and dilemmas seem surprisingly contemporary.
  4. 75
    One of the most expensive Danish movies ever made, and at times, it's glossy to a fault.
  5. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    75
    Through a fluke of release-schedule timing, it arrives as the anti-“Inglourious Basterds’’ - a story about heroic Nazi-killers in which heroism itself sinks under bewildering crosscurrents of motive and uncertainty.
  6. Reviewed by: Kate Taylor
    75
    A satisfying thriller interestingly complicated by its study of character and compromise.
  7. 50
    As directed by Ole Christian Madsen, the thriller features well-choreographed shootouts and assassinations. But the script is too melodramatic and complicated for its own good.

See all 20 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 5
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 5
  3. Negative: 0 out of 5
  1. DamienB
    Aug 26, 2009
    10
    Rich, satisfying and complex on so many thematic and narrative levels. Loved it!
  2. ElizabethR
    Aug 22, 2009
    9
    Totally absorbing but sometimes confusing...
  3. Jul 3, 2012
    9
    A great foreign film the subtitling was good to follow. a great true story of the nazis and the people who fought them in Denmark MadsA great foreign film the subtitling was good to follow. a great true story of the nazis and the people who fought them in Denmark Mads Mikkelsen is brilliant! Expand
  4. EdS
    Aug 18, 2009
    8
    Thoughtful and action-packed, a bit overlong; lifted the veil on a neglected corner of WWII history and its protagonists. For resistance Thoughtful and action-packed, a bit overlong; lifted the veil on a neglected corner of WWII history and its protagonists. For resistance fighters, the challenges were as much psychological as physical, if not more so. I actually enjoyed this even more than "Army of Shadows." I found the femme-fatale bit a tad overdone, and i did wonder where all that plentiful tobacco and alcohol, and the handsome tweeds and trenchcoats, came from in an occupied country in wartime. (When I spent a summer in nearby Norway in 1968, smokers generally rolled their own cigarettes -- ready-mades cost too much!) Expand
  5. Jun 17, 2013
    8
    An authentic, richly detailed political thriller that powerfully captures an overlooked piece of history--the resistance to the NaziAn authentic, richly detailed political thriller that powerfully captures an overlooked piece of history--the resistance to the Nazi occupation in Denmark. The anti- "Inglorious Basterds''- a story about heroic Nazi killers in which heroism itself sinks under bewildering crosscurrents of motive and uncertainty. Breathtaking cinematography with style to spare, accompanied with an engaging fact based storyline leads to an extraordinarily well-done film directed by Ole Christian Madson. However and collectively, this film isn't about Nazis or the Danish resistance per say, or the things people did to survive--it's about romancing these heroic figures in spectacular style.

    The setting is in Copenhagen near the end of the Nazi occupation, and D-Day is fast approaching when the movie begins. Flammen (Thure Lindhardt) and Citronen (Mads Mikkelsen) are unlikely partners in the resistance. The former is a flame-haired youngster who kills without reservation, (except for women and children)--while the older is the driver, who is torn between providing for a better life for his wife and daughter, and his allegiance to the ‘greater cause.’ Flame and Citron are assassins in an underground organization eliminating Danish citizens who have embraced the occupation and joined German forces. They are concerned with the bureaucracy of organized violent resistance an interesting angle. The two heroes would prefer to be freelancers, but they have orders and they must follow. Their situation becomes more desperate and dangerous for the increasingly isolated pair when a traitor was suspected in the ranks of the resistance when several of its members end up dead. Knowing whom to trust becomes impossible when their mission is now in question. The movie often feels more like film noir than a war picture both in the way it is shot and in the manner in which the characters are portrayed. Flame and Citron lurk in the shadows and corridors--Tommy guns are emptied into motorcars, as well as their occupants with great flair. "Flame and Citron'' is torn between honoring and subverting the rules of the WWII resistance genre, and it insists on seeing the two leads as heroes-- even as events spiral downward beyond their control. The anti-Nazi righteousness we crave from our movie devolves into paranoia, wrongful death, and a bleak landscape in which allegiances can never be pinned down. The script (based on actual events) by Madsen and Lars Andersen, wades right into the ambiguity of wartime morals and self-deceit.

    Despite being a gorgeous period noir, "Flame & Citron" reminds us that assassins like these may have earned a heroic status for their cause and actions, but they also killed innocent people along the way. Though the material might lend itself to heavy-handedness, director Ole Christian Madsen is steady in his approach, and he gets terrific performances from the two leads. Resistance isn't futile, but it does come with its own terrible cost.
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