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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Flickering Lights
Flickering Lights
Vanguard // Unrated // March 25, 2003
List Price: $29.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Don Houston | posted May 9, 2003 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
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Movie: Violent movies about gangsters are a staple in many a movie lover's itinerary but due to the proliferation of such movies, many are really lame. On the other side of the equation is that once in awhile, someone will make such a movie that really provides a breath of fresh air. Flickering Lights (Blinkende Lygter) is a movie made in Denmark that surprised me in the unique outlook, not to mention bizarre characters, on an overdone genre. Here's what the boxcover says: "Academy Award™ winner Anders Thomas Jensen, whose style has been described as a cross between Tarantino and The Coen brothers, has pulled a stunner with Flickering Lights, both shocking and funny, violent and gentle. It's a brand new kind of gangster comedy about four childhood buddies whose screwed-up crimes turn out to have redeeming value. Torkild, a bumbling petty criminal, and his accomplices, dispatched by a mob boss to rob a diplomat, decide to flee with the loot and head for Barcelona. After their van breaks down in the Danish countryside, they find refuge in an abandoned building. Their leader, deciding that he's tired of the criminal life, buys it in hopes of opening a restaurant. Even though his little gang of faithful buddies (who have never really grown up) has a depressing tendency to fail at all jobs, they unite in the effort and magically, incredibly, are able to turn their lives around."

One of the things I liked about this movie was that even though the characters were extremely prone to violence, it is explained in individual flashbacks that describe various ill fated events that pushed the men to lives of crime and violence. On top of that, the characters are not one dimensional and the writing pretty intelligent which made me appreciate the movie each time I watched it. Seeing the bumbling crooks struggle with their inner demons and try to make a new life, even when they couldn't agree to what that new life should be, was something I just don't see these days from studios that are driven by committee and profit.

Picture: The picture was presented in 2.35:1 widescreen and looked very clear. The color was accurate and any visible flaws minimal.

Sound: The sound was presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo but it didn't seem to have a lot of separation between the tracks. I didn't even notice until the third time I watched the movie though.For those who care, it's in Danish with English subtitles.

Extras: There's a trailer and a promotional reel for Vanguard.

Final Thoughts: I didn't understand some of the context of the movie (I'm an American, it's a bad habit some of us have) but nonetheless thought this was a keeper. A strong cast, solid screenplay, good direction and a sense of humor made this movie stand out from the pack. I'll be the first to admit that a lot of foreign movies are pretty weak but there are also a lot of great ones too. Thankfully, Vanguard provides an outlet for a lot of these movies. I give Flickering Lights a High Recommendation.

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