Flickering Lights

Flickering Lights

**1/2

Reviewed by: Chris

This is a black comedy from one of Denmark's most prolific screenwriters, and his first film as Director. Jensen's writing accomplishments include several Dogme95 films, the Scottish comedy Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself by Lone Scherfig, and in 2006 helping create the characters for a second Scottish hit, Red Road.

The story starts with some small-time crooks receiving a lorryload of illegal cigarettes. They turn out to be the wrong sort. Menthol. Who smokes menthol? An air of almost Marx Brothers comedy turns briefly Tarantino-esque as they beat the hell out of the lorry-driver with a nonchalance that allows comic dialogue to continue uninterrupted.

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At a surprise birthday party, the gang leader almost shoots someone by mistake, and has to pass off an AK-47 birthday present as a toy to non-crim guests. But he's being hunted by the 'Eskimo' - the big boss to whom he owes money. As part of the pay-off he does a job that accidentally reveals a massive stash of loot. Instead of handing it over he goes on the run with his numbskull buddies. Cliched or predictable devices, such as a getaway car that breaks down, are balanced by a fast, witty and inventive script that constantly shifts between slapstick and violence. A wounded crook yells: "I need food! I need a bath! I need some coke!"

They hide out in a dilapidated restaurant in a wood, which they eventually re-decorate and make a disastrous attempt at running as a business, dogged by the violence of their natures, mishaps and external events. "Whose blood is it?" "Oh, just some customers."

Jokes are low-brow but delight audiences easily enough to give the film international appeal. "Can you fuck like that when you're pregnant? Won't the kid get it right on the head?" The title refers to the glimpses of the dim past often shown in flashbacks (to explain why the characters are so screwed up). Acting is first rate and there's some fine photography. Although there was a constant ripple of laughter in the audience at the screening I attended, this particular mix of realistic, rather gratuitous violence, continuous swearing and comedy was not to my taste, but I hope that won't dissuade others from enjoying it.

Reviewed on: 21 Feb 2007
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Flickering Lights packshot
A group of gangsters on the run hide out in an old country house and fall in love with it, dreaming of a different life; but their past is out to get them.
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Director: Anders Thomas Jensen

Writer: Anders Thomas Jensen

Starring: Søren Pilmark, Ulrich Thomsen, Mads Mikkelsen, Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Sofie Gråbøl, Iben Hjejle

Year: 2000

Runtime: 109 minutes

Country: Denmark

Festivals:

Glasgow 2007

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