Flickering Lights Reviews
So this psychological profile of a bunch of psychotics, takes on more intrigue when looked at in this manor. We see how important the father, or lack of father figure plays in the film. For instance, for Arne, Torkild's controlling demeanour is too reminiscent of his own father, but he finds release in the older Alfred taking Arne under his wing when they go hunting so that Arne can "work off" his frustration. After, the oft aggravated Arne is found almost serene and Zen like.
Peter, on the other hand, is the stable psychotic, if you will. He just goes along with most of the insanity, neither blowing up or getting too low. These boys certainly have the makings of career criminals, but it's the coming together of all and their need to grow beyond mere corruption and crime, to take on greater meaning in their lives that actually pulls them together and the film as well. Nothing sensational here. A bit slow at times and disengaging, but enough going on to help one see it through to the end.
This sort of black action comedy genre became popular in Denmark with "In China They Eat Dogs" that came out in 1999 based on a screenplay by Anders Thomas Jensen, whom also wrote and directed "Flickering Lights". We see a similar sort of set up with a lot of dark humour and quite violent sequences in "Flickering Lights". The story is based on the main characters tragic upbringing and what they became and how certain events in the movie change their view on life and what sort of life they want to live future wise. Meaning the moral here is that despite a tough life and a criminal background there´s always a way out for a better life that won´t make you end up dead. And with the combination of friendship, love, happiness and identity the story becomes rich and endearing. Certain scenes are really over the top and absurd (and at times you simply can´t help but burst out in loud laughter), but due to the fact that Jensen has a great cast at his hands with Pilmark, Thomsen, Mikkelsen and Kaas (all magnificent in their roles) they manage to balance it perfectly and never drops the ball. The dialogue is witty and funny as well within all the complexity. I reckon you can see a touch of Tarantino in this as well, which I think Jensen would be happy to hear. You might even call it an homage to Tarantino. It still holds up pretty well 14 years later. And once you´ve seen "Flickering Lights" you will never forget Mikkelsen´s gun toting psychopath Arne...
Each of the characters is allowed a little back story, told in flashback, and these vignettes filmed in a contrasting style, give us enough background to understand the damaged men, and their motivations. We come to understand how they turned out the way they did, and why their friendship is so strong. Dramatic, yet humorous, and satisfying throughout, Blinkende Lygter (Flickering Lights) is a film worth looking for.
(Thought I'd add a line - friend Aditya prompts me to point out that THIS IS NOT A DOCUMENTARY.)
Everyone hates to be stuck in that old, broken house, surrounded by strange locals, getting on each others nerves. Everyone, but Torkild. Torkild feels bizarrely calm and peaceful where he is. And he tells every local that they have bought the inn and want to open a restaurant soon...and after a little while this plan becomes more than just an idea. They realize, that paradise might be on earth and that it might just look a bit different than they expected it to look. Everything works well...until Peter runs out of coke and phones his dealer. And his dealer is unfortunaley Torkilds ex-boss...
Each of the four friends has his own package to carry and through surreal flashbacks we get an idea what made them become what they are now.
Oh, and don't worry, there will be a bloodbath! And please don't fear that they all will work in a neat restaurant and turn out to be good cooks- of course they won't.
Hanne: What happened?
Peter: [cleaning up blood from the floor after Arne killed a robber] Yes, it's a mess, isn't it?
Stefan: Whose blood is it?
Peter: Oh, just some customers'.
Hanne: You're doing it all wrong, Torkild! HAHA!
Stefan: Hanne, please...
Hanne: No, don't, Stefan! He's doing it all wrong! HAHA!
Stefan: Hanne, leave him alone...
Hanne: No, just a second, Stefan. I've never seen anyone so lousy at blowing eggs! HAHAHA!
Torkild: [punches her in the face] NOW SHUT THE FUCK UP, BITCH!