Flickering Lights - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Flickering Lights Reviews

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February 17, 2016
I see this film listed under documentary, drama, action & adventure, comedy. But they missed it. This is nothing if not a psychological thriller, emphasis on psychological. Torkild (Soren Pilmark) is the papa bear. He's just turned 40 and is feeling the pull to settle down. Of course, his girlfriend leaving him only puts salt in the wound. His aggravation is palpitate when Stefan and his girlfriend go at it upstairs in the restaurant while the boys watch a movie below. But then maybe papa bear is not only jealous of one of his wards obtaining intimacy where he couldn't, but are his father instincts kicking in as well?

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.
½ February 2, 2015
Four small-time Copenhagen criminals; Torkild (Søren Pilmark), Peter (Ulrich Thomsen), Arne (Mads Mikkelsen) and Stefan (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) met during their teens and they all share a tragic childhood with abuse and sad consequences. They are assigned by the crime kingpin Færingen (Peter Andersson) to break into a house and retrieve a briefcase for him, a briefcase that proves to contain 4 million. The leader of the four, Torkild see this as his way out of a criminal life and become a normal citizen. He takes the decision to flee to Barcelona with the money and his three companions. But, already on Jylland their car breakes down and they seek refuge in an abandoned house. Because of a gunshot wound Peter got during the break in, the four have to wait to proceed with their journey to Barcelona until he recovers. In order to not create too much attention from the locals, they pretend that they are renovating the house to open a restaurant. But, their past eventually catches up with them...

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...
December 11, 2014
One of my favorite danish comedy's. Its dark , satirical and has some of the most original characters you will ever see.
½ June 15, 2014
Decent. The characters are interesting, but the lead gets tired after about 30 mins in. Mads does a great job. There could have been more meat, as some of the movie feels like filler. Light hearted and fun at times.
June 10, 2014
Deliciously quirky and darkly wicked!
½ August 30, 2013
Danish humour at its very sarcastic best
½ August 19, 2013
Eccentric and overtly funny - Denmark's answer to" Lock Stock and Two Smoking barrels" with a different Taste--An original, fabulous genre hybrid!!
August 11, 2013
Hilarious. A.T.J. can do no wrong. He's like Denmark's mix of Wes Anderson and the Coen Brothers. This movie was heartfelt and so fucking funny. A definite favorite for sure.
May 16, 2013
It's not bad. I almost gave it 3,5 stars.. but I'd just expected more.
December 13, 2012
One of the best danish movies ever1
September 6, 2012
Strange and violent black comedy that shows a different take on the heist genre.
August 27, 2012
Its dark n humorous and even with its gory violence its a feel good movie.A must watch
March 12, 2012
Another gem from the Danish director of "Adam's Apples," Anders Thomas Jensen. Torkild (Søren Pilmark) is a thoughtful criminal who owes a lot of money to a mob boss, "the Eskimo," and when he and his little band of dysfunctional henchmen take off with a suitcase full of the crime lord's money, one suspects it will not end well. Their getaway vehicle breaks down in the middle of a forest and the gang takes refuge in an abandoned inn. This is where the film transforms into something truly magical. Torkild, who always wanted to open a restaurant, begins to use the stolen money to fix up the place. Their explanation to the locals who find them hiding there is that they are planning to re-open the lodge with an eating establishment and when customers start coming around, the dream/alibi begins to become a reality. The rest is totally unpredictable and a thorough delight to watch. I can still see the image of Arne (Mads Mikkelsen), the most psychopathic of the gang, leaning over a cook pot in a stained wife-beater undershirt, with two inches of cigarette ash dangling perilously over the main course.
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.)
½ February 19, 2012
I was hoping for a hilarious black comedy in vein of "Adam's Apples" and with excellent Danish cast, how could you go wrong. Well... the story seemed familiar and the jokes were not that funny. The "flashbacks" didn't really work and added little to the movie. I did get a few chuckles, but in the end this was disappointing.
January 23, 2012
Light entertainment with Danish oddity.
November 23, 2011
recommended by zorarose.......
August 30, 2011
This actually looks really awesome.
June 21, 2011
Torkild (Soren Pilmark) turns 40 and decides to change his life. He wants to quit his life as a crook. Good, that he just robbed a heap of money for his boss, so he has a wonderful basis to finance his future on a tropical island. With his friends Peter (Ulrich Thomsen), Arne (Mads Mikkelsen) and Stefan (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) he wants to leave Denmark, but their car breaks down. Peter has a bullet wound and so they decide to seek shelter in a deserted inn. The local doctor advices them to stay for at least two weeks, until the wound will be healed well enough to continue their journey.

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!
½ April 10, 2011
dänisch, schwarzhumorig, melancholisch, einfach klasse!
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