The Flock Andrew Lau

The Flock Andrew Lau
The Flock has had an interesting and unfortunate journey prior to landing on DVD shelves in North America. It was released oversees in various territories with additional footage and significantly more stylistic excess delivered by Infernal Affairs director Lau. After some re-shoots by The Assassination of Richard Nixon director Niels Mueller, which gave the film a somewhat more homogenised and accessible feel, the film found itself going straight-to-DVD with little publicity or special features. While The Flock isn’t a fantastic film, having the stereotypical pairing of a seasoned cynic with a fresh-faced idealist and some over-the-top grittiness, it is far better than many other crime thrillers that recently received theatrical runs (Untraceable and 88 Minutes, just to name a couple) and features some rock solid performances from both Gere and Danes. Errol Babbage (Richard Gere) is employed by the department of public safety, monitoring recently paroled sex offenders. Having immersed himself too deeply in the job, his behaviour has become increasingly erratic, leading to a forced retirement and subsequent replacement by newcomer Allison Lowry (Claire Danes). Prior to his departure, Errol must show Allison the ropes and introduce her to a seedy underworld inhabited by perverts and criminals. When a young girl goes missing, Errol becomes convinced that one of his parolees is responsible and drags Angela into his dangerous investigation. Examinations of public presentation in relation to the actualities innate in perversions beneath the surface are successfully conveyed, as are the realities of the impacts of a consistently negative and damaging environment on the human psyche. Gere manages to deliver a performance that is attentive to character instability but also identifiable in his pragmatism and cynically avuncular relationship with a naïve replacement who he wants to toughen up. Danes is equally successful in her logical portrayal of a newcomer trying to adapt to a new environment that doesn’t necessarily fit textbook definitions. The film itself progresses at a solid pace, keeping the audience engaged while clues to the mystery are revealed, but feels strangely familiar, with a score that sounds like the one from The Silence of the Lambs, along with a colour palette and use of spatial dynamics in widescreen similar to that of Seven. The DVD features only a trailer, which is usually associated with films of limited commercial success. (Seville)