Flickering Lights

Proving that not all Danish directors are plying the "Dogme" style of filmmaking in their work, Flickering Lights (released in the US some 2 1/2 years after its Denmark debut) treads ground similar to that of In China They Eat Dogs, in that it's another low-key crime comedy about some gruff but lovable gangsters on the run from some gruffer and entirely unlovable gangsters. Though Lights lacks the earlier film's notoriously weird ending, it shares its same oddball blend of startling violence and laconic character-based comedy. And it's enjoyable.

The story involves a quartet of low-rent thugs who steal a suitcase full of money, make their escape from the psychotic kingpin who wants it... then, on their way to Barcelona, find their van breaking down outside an abandoned restaurant in the forest. With the excuse of having to wait around for a couple of weeks while one of the friends' bullet wounds heal, they eventually start cleaning up the restaurant and decide to open it up for business.

All in all it's a sweet-natured story, with a fine cast turning in generally pleasant performances (even though most of the characters are a bit nuts), though its bursts of gunfire and murder may be too jarring for some. Anybody who's seen two or more Danish films from the last five years will recognize several faces in the cast: Denmark must have a pretty small talent pool.