5 November 2015 | bob the moo
Wears its "remote community grimness" too heavily on its sleeve
Flankers is set in a small fishing community in Newfoundland, where the people speak (as I discovered) in an ever so slightly Irish accent. We join the film with a storm on the way, and a pair of men coming in to port to shelter till it passes. This causes some tension as it is clear they are not welcome – but the storm is not the only thing brewing.
This film opens with a very strong sense of foreboding which is delivered by the music and supported by the sense of remote, beautiful, emptiness to the sea and landscape. It is a tone that doesn't go away and it does feel throughout that the film has overplayed it too early and for too long. As we start to meet characters this same feeling continues, because we never really understand the context of this tension and its consequences – like the music, it just "is". The main narrative device in the film also feels the same way – it suddenly just happens, which causes a slight change in relationship dynamics, and then the film ends with a remaining lingering sense of foreboding and tension.
In creating this mood the film certainly does go for it, and in a base way it does fit the place and story well, but the problem is that the story and characters do not suitably inform that tone and the end result is that it feels far too heavy and overbearing for the material. Performances are solid, and technically it does capture the tension and isolation of the people and place, but it just felt rushed into things and it left me very much on the outside looking in, making me wonder so much that I must have missed some key information that I watched it again just to be sure.