Film Review: 'Flood'(2007)

(re-post from an older version of my blog)

Directed by Tony Mitchell, written by Justin Bodle and Matthew Cope; staring Robert Carlyle, Tom Courtenay, Jessalyn Gilsig and David Suchet.

“Timely yet terrifying, FLOOD predicts the unthinkable. Could this be the capital’s last 24 hours?

When a raging storm coincides with high tide, it unleashes a colossal tidal surge which travels mercilessly down England’s East Coast and into the River Thames. Overwhelming the Barrier, torrents of water pour into London. The lives of millions of people are at stake. Top marine engineer, Rob Morrison and his feather Leonard rush to the aid of his ex-wife and Barrier expert, Sam to try to save a city on the brink of annihilation.”

I have to be honest and say I love a good sci-fi disaster film, especially one of epic portions and set in London! It also is one of those sci-fi films that does remind you that not all science-fiction needs to take place in the future or feature bug-eyed aliens hell-bent on destroying all of humanity.

I believe this is based on a book by Richard Doyle, and in glancing at the reviews on Amazon it seems that the book is a 4/5 star read. I might check it out, pity they didn’t translate it to film very well.

I don’t want to come across as picky but riding in a speed boat up the Thames, and not one person in said speed boat is wearing a life jacket. Yes it’s a fictional film but c’mon!

Nice use of stock footage. Interesting use of graphics, don’t you just love how this sort of film feels the need to create beautiful computer graphics?

Eugh, script. I suppose actors can only do so much when required to spout stock cliché dialogue and one-dimensional characters. Why David Suchet was playing the *Deputy* Prime Minister, was that a political statement on UK politics at the time?

For some reason Tom Courtenay really reminded me of Ambassador Sarek, his Vulcan-like portrayal of Professor Morrison and how he dealt with everything with a Vulcan-like calm manner were very Sarek-like. In fact, if Ben Cross (who I dislike) hadn’t already been cast as Sare in the new film, I would think that Tom Courtenay would be an excellent choice. Particularly as even during a really dramatic emotional moment (Morrison is reunited with his son, who he presumed dead and only just reconnected with) was handled very much like a Vulcan…

The only other actors who I think were worthy of mention are David Suchet (who does everything brilliant, even if it’s rubbish material) and Joanne Whalley as the police commissioner who is coordinating the evacuation/relief/etc methods. The rest were just walking through their parts, (although I think Robert Carlyle does that with all his performances.)

The story is pretty much disaster stock, and we all know it goes. There’s a race against time, there’s people trapped and they have to make it out, there’s the part where a character sacrifices themselves… but in this case they forgot the fact it’s supposed to be someone we care about. I did feel a tug on my heart strings when I saw the British Museum underwater.

Special effects were on the decent side, but mostly propped up with stock footage of storms around the world. The camera movements as they switch from place to place did start to make me feel a little sea-sick after a bit, but hey I guess that was the point since it’s called ‘Flood’. There was a moment where I honestly expected a giant sea monster to come swimming up the Thames. There were some jumps that made me think that my DVD player had jumped and I’d missed things…

You know what I found refreshing? The government weren’t incompetent useless nitwits, they acted on the information they were given and made the right decisions. The dPM told the military everything had to remain under civilian control, security was a secondary issue to the evacuation. Oh, and it also wasn’t a secret military experiment gone wrong.

The story was very drawn out, I really don’t think there was much to really justify at 107minute running time. I’m sure there was a TV docum-drama made a few years back, or possibly around the same time that dealt with a very similar plot in a much shorter time and managed to keep it tied together.

I didn’t quite understand the ending… it sort of just ended. Did they manually get the Thames barrier down or did they run out of special effects money to show that part so it all happened off screen? Umm… questions.

I wonder if this film scared anyone. I live near Baker Street which is in Central London and it did make me think “what would happen if that really happened?”

Not recommended, perfectly entertaining but really nothing I’d go out of my way to watch. It’s better than ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ though.

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