Monday, March 16, 2009

As Seen On TV: The Flock

The things you'll stay up until one in the morning to watch. The straight-to-DVD The Flock was directed by Andrew Lau, one of the directors behind the Infernal Affairs trilogy (the basis for The Departed). I can't think what attracted Lau to such a bare bones story of obsession and cheap sexual perversion, but his poor choice of script is partially redeemed by the performance of Richard Gere as an a bureaucrat being forced into an early retirement. Gere's job is to keep track of registered sex offenders in what I think is supposed to be Texas but looks like Canada, but he lacks the authority and even the sidearm of a cop and is regarded as a borderline nut job by his colleagues. The plot involves Gere training his replacement (a miscast Claire Danes) while inserting himself into the case of a kidnapped girl whose disappearance he believes is connected to one of his charges.

There's nothing surprising or dangerous about The Flock, the bad guys are exactly the people you expect and Gere's furrowed brow performance is good enough to hold your attention but the role has no depth beyond a kind of avenging angel mentality that never lets up. The unrelentingly grim view of human sexuality presented makes The Flock a sort of junior high version of Seven; the straight-to-DVD release is entirely justified.

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