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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.
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...
One of my favorite danish comedy's. Its dark , satirical and has some of the most original characters you will ever see.
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.
Deliciously quirky and darkly wicked!
Danish humour at its very sarcastic best
Eccentric and overtly funny - Denmark's answer to" Lock Stock and Two Smoking barrels" with a different Taste--An original, fabulous genre hybrid!!
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.
It's not bad. I almost gave it 3,5 stars.. but I'd just expected more.
One of the best danish movies ever1