x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

The Flock

It feels grubbily exploitative, sensationalising a serious subject with very little care for accuracy or sensitivity. A disappointing mess.

Claire Danes and Richard Gere lead this
Claire Danes and Richard Gere lead this "disappointing mess".


The Flock is the English language debut of Andrew Lau, the Hong Kong filmmaker who co-directed the acclaimed Infernal Affairs trilogy. Sadly for any of Lau's fans who had been looking forward to it, it's pretty dreadful. Richard Gere plays Errol Babbage, a government worker whose job it is to make routine checks on released offenders, and who can't stop himself from taking his work too far. He gets fired for not following the rules, but for some reason is still allowed to train his replacement (Claire Danes). When a young girl goes missing, Babbage gets drawn into one last case, even though investigating abductions was clearly never his job in the first place. T he studio were reportedly unhappy with Lau's final cut and brought in another director (Niels Mueller, The Assassination of Richard Nixon) for reshoots. That makes sense, because at a number of points The Flock seems to be two films at odds with each other in: it's part psychodrama, opening and closing with a Nietzsche quote and probing Babbage's unravelling mind, and part B-movie cop thriller, merrily ploughing through logic and featuring a brief but still upsetting appearance by Avril Lavigne. To cap it all off, the film feels grubbily exploitative, sensationalising a serious subject with very little care for accuracy or sensitivity. It all adds up to a disappointing mess.
estimson@thenational.ae