Breaking the Waves

Emily Watson in Breaking the Waves

Breaking the Waves can make you queasy from its opening moments, when director Lars von Trier’s name appears with the title superimposed over it, the title card swaying gently on screen as if it were photographed at sea. The effect is less subtle on home video than it is on a big screen, where you’re not as aware of the edges of the frame, but the message is the same: suddenly, you’re adrift, unmoored, alone. Continue reading

Flame & Citron

Flame & Citron

In the obvious shorthand, Flame and Citron is Black Book meets Munich. Like Steven Spielberg’s Munich, it’s a sober thriller about how political assassins occupy uneasy moral ground, especially when they’re driven by a lust for vengeance. And, like Paul Verhoeven’s Black Book, it’s a World War II thriller about sex and betrayal and how hard it is to trust anyone in occupied territory. I think I prefer both of those movies to this one, but Flame and Citron has its own muscles to flex. In its cool, detached regard for the predicament its protagonists find themselves in, it’s probably tougher than either of them.

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