Ole Christian Madsen's World War II drama is reputedly the most expensive Danish film ever made. There is none of the lo-fi murk of recent Dogme films; it's handsomely filmed, and plenty of loot was expended on period automobiles and Nazi uniforms. The story, set in 1944 during the German occupation of Copenhagen, follows two colorfully nicknamed heroes of the Danish resistance movement -- the brash, red-haired Flame (Thure Lindhardt) and the moodier Citron (Mads Mikkelsen).
The two are tasked with exterminating Danish sympathizers, but each is itching to go after actual Nazis -- an action that leads to the revelation that the moral certainty under which they have been operating is anything but. There is a world war, and a battle for their homeland, but the two find themselves ensnared and compromised by the smallest of struggles, rooted, of course, in various competing self-interests. (Add to this that perennial query: Is it right to kill one to potentially save many?)
Madsen's film has the look and tone of a gangster thriller: broody men in flapping overcoats and rakishly cocked fedoras; drive-by assassinations; chaotic shoot-outs that leave no window unshattered; and a femme fatale, whose allegiance seems to shift as easily as her hair color. The plot -- based on history little known outside Denmark -- is at least a relatively fresh chapter of citizens-against-Nazis. At over two hours, the film has a few uneven spots and loses some momentum in its final reel, but this is a spiffy and mostly satisfactory presentation of Denmark's dark days. In Danish and German, with subtitles. Starts Fri., Oct. 30. Manor