Mads Mikkelsen did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Jørgen Haagen Schmith aka "Citron" in Flame & Citron.
The film follows the titular men the first being the red haired "flame" Bent Faurschou Hviid (Thure Lindhardt) who specializes in assassinations meanwhile we also have Mikkelsen as Jørgen Haagen Schmith aka "Citron"who originally acts as his driver. The film focuses just a bit more on Hviid than it does Schmith though both men lead the story. This leaves though Schmith to make his impact in the story in somewhat brief scenes and often times in the margins of them. Thankfully this is helped by having Mads Mikkelsen in the role who is effortlessly captivating as always. Mikkelsen's strengths as an actor though are pivotal to the realization of Schmith in this film and his whole journey which while secondary in screentime is as important in the scheme of the film. That is in the opening of the film Schmith hasn't actually killed rather he has been an accomplice to Hviid's assassinations of Danish collaborators, and we only see his reactions during the act or afterwards. Mikkelsen is terrific in absorbing the emotion essentially by portraying this quiet distress in the man that realizes his internalized struggle even as the film does not focus upon it. Mikkelsen is able to convey the man who attempts to hide this state, as he also hides his acts as a resistance member, by creating this innate intensity into his work that effectively shows not only the man's own moral strife, but also the state found through his life in the shadows essentially.
Eventually Schmith is called upon to kill someone himself an act that he initially fails in the first time, and Mikkelsen conveys that devastation of the moment in his pained eyes. Mikkelsen though doesn't portray this as a rejection of the idea itself rather there is a combined fear of in part indecisiveness in himself, but also fear of taking that step that cannot be backtracked. After Schmith does kill Mikkelsen again is great in portraying this change in Schmith, largely again through reactions however he never seems vague. What again Mikkelsen does so well is change the expression of emotion, which is just as intense as ever as to be expected from Mikkelsen, however it is no longer of the very same nature. Mikkelsen instead chances his depiction to show the embracing of this emotion in an interesting way. Mikkelsen makes it as raw as it was before yet now he no longer portrays this cowering fear within these moments, but instead conveys a much stronger determination just through his physical presence that was initially retiring. Mikkelsen creates this sort of strength within the growing darkness the man is capable of as he goes about the killing. The killing which Mikkelsen does not grant a hint of sadism but rather as this expression of hatred. A very notable type of hatred though as Mikkelsen always portrays this with a certain anguish, not for the men he's going to kill, but rather in terms of the existence they have enforced upon him.
Again Mikkelsen is not always focused upon in any given scene however he is always captivating even when he is just a part of a scene. That is through how effectively he portrays the seething emotion that is a constant in Schmith. Unlike some of the other resistance members Schmith is in no way compromised in his motivations for the killings, in turn Mikkelsen makes this state of the man distinct in every scene. As in every interaction with those with a different tone in regards to their activities Mikkelsen presents so well the blunt attitude of the man set now into his life in the darkness and in that conveys the real wear of this idea. Mikkelsen shows essentially a man always ready to break down as he is able to embody this man who has allowed so much sadness within himself to the point it is the only thing that keeps him moving forward. There are a few scenes that are directly from Schmith's viewpoint which usually have to do with the man and his wife. Mikkelsen is great in these scenes by showing the man not at all at peace even when in the embrace of the family. He does express a definite warmth yet he funnels through that despondency that makes up the man's state of mind. In these scenes Mikkelsen is incredible in the way he offers this conditioned tenderness that unfortunately is almost this disturbing act that he depicts as a man reaching out for comfort yet doing it with such desperation it is hard to see the love within it. Mikkelsen carefully in these scenes shows that Schmith never escapes the demons in his mind but is rather all the more plagued by them as he has no way to exorcise them, ever briefly, through the killing.
A central conflict within the film though comes within the men going about their killing but only with so much information to determine those who are guilty and those who are not. In a moment where Hviid mentions they might have killed innocent people Mikkelsen is heartbreaking in his delivery of the most vulnerable Schmith who tries to silence the discussion. As he says essentially they have killed no one innocent, Mikkelsen is remarkable in creating that distress in every word and in his face of a man who needs to hide the truth lest it destroy his already nearly unbearable existence. Mikkelsen powerfully finds this conflict within his portrayal of Schmith particularly in the later scenes of the film such as one where they accidentally shoot a German child. There are few words left to the scene yet Mikkelsen honestly does not need them as his reaction of such subtle yet palatable horror of a man whose already seen so much sadly reveals the harrowing state of the man. A state that even while such an act clearly does effect him Mikkelsen shows that it is more subdued than it would be for most since it is within this life of the man filled with death. Mikkelsen is especially affecting then in his one scene where he does seem to go one step further in revealing the man finding just a hint of solace in a very strange way. Schmith does this as he recovers from a wound in a close call remarking that he feels he must go to prison even after the war. In this moment Mikkelsen finds the only bit of comfort in the warmth he finally does more calmly express yet brilliantly twists it as it is in the moment where the man state his wish to be punished for his killings. Unsurprisingly this is a striking turn by Mikkelsen in creating such moving portrait of a man fighting for a good cause, yet still wrecked by the evil he must do to pursue it.