Flying Blind film Review
An odd hybrid between a low key erotic thriller and, on the other hand, a political drama, Flying Blind is a film of more substantial ideas than quality. Shot on a micro budget by a first time director, the film can boast fine performances but little else, as it fails to elicit the kind of politically charged atmosphere needed to make it any more than the some of its parts.
The film is led by Helen McCrory as Frankie, a forty-something aeronautics engineer designing unmanned drones for the military. In this high-powered job she is a success, going toe to toe with anyone in what appears to be a male-led environment. She also lectures, lives in a plush apartment and, whilst single, seems to be more than happy with her somewhat solitary life. When she meets Kahil (Najib Oudghiri), a twenty-year-old French Algerian student, a passionate affair begins that shapes the rest of the film.
The attraction between the two overrides age, class, race and culture, and it is this issue that the film is occupied with. Katarzyna Klimkieweicz demonstrates the difference between the two lovers through their different status’ as well as their homes, Frankie in her opulent apartment whilst Kahil has just a single tiny room in a shared house. However, the real difference that the film attempts to convey is how the two are perceived. As the relationship continues, Kahil becomes the subject of growing suspicion by Frankie’s colleagues, as well as her father Victor (Kenneth Cranham) over why he would be interested in a dating a woman twice his age, whilst the confidence Frankie has in herself is shaken by the suggestion that he is only interested in her work. After meetings with military intelligence, Frankie begins to doubt her new romance, as it dawns on her that Kahil’s motives may be political.
Whilst the issue of prejudice and racial suspicion has never been more relevant, Flying Blind fails to take up the chance to really delve into it. More televisual in nature than cinematic, the film is unable to keep up with its own ideas, and is marred by poor dialogue to say the least. The cultural difference between the two leads is only faintly touched upon considering what is at stake, and the opportunity for a whole range of debates is wasted.
What does save it however is its performances. The supporting cast does well to turn a clumsy script into more than it should be, with Najib Oudghiri successful in making Kahil both a mysterious and alluring figure. Kennth Cranham is a welcome screen presence, but it is Helen McCrory who should be commended for her confident yet vulnerable performance, which allows the drama to work in a way that is both personal and political. It is just a shame that the rest of Flying Blind does not match up to this fine lead performance.