Published Aug 06, 2009Denmark unleashes a big budget historical action flick that unfortunately falls flat. Flame and Citron looks promising; it's blessed with a reported big budget of 45 million krones (over nine million Canadian) and stars two of the country's top actors: Thure Lindhardt as Flammen and Mads Mikkelson (Casino Royale) as Citron. Together, they kill Nazis and collaborators on behalf of the Danish resistance.
It's 1944 and the momentum is about to swing in the Allies' favour with the D-Day invasion. Flame and Citron are good at what they do but Citron has little time to devote to his neglected family, while Flame is entranced with Ketty (Stene Stengade), a possible double agent. As the bodies pile up, their boss discovers that there is a traitor in their circle. No worries. Flame and Citron throw caution to the wind and zero in on Gestapo leader Hoffman (Christian Berkel).
As our heroes go from one violent killing to another there is a remarkable absence of suspense to propel Flame and Citron. A bounty is put on their heads but there is no sense of chase or danger. The lavish sets, streets and wardrobe evoke the period but the film lacks atmosphere or the dread of being caught and its associated paranoia and desperation.
A key flaw lies in underplaying Hoffman, the obvious bad guy, who doesn't pose enough of a threat to our heroes. To make matters worse, we don't quite understand Flame's unwavering attraction to Ketty, nor shed a tear over Citron's domestic troubles.
Though not a terrible film, Flame and Citron leaves little to get excited about. (Mongrel Media)