There's also the fact that it's filmed in the UK and in Bristol and what better way to support the British film industry than to watch a film that was made and filmed right here. The bonus is that the film is actually very good and has strong performances, which leads me to the other reason I was drawn to it, Helen McCrory. Not only is she good but she also delivers a character that is brimming with sexuality, and not in a Hollywood way but in a realistic way.
Flying Blind is a great example of British film making.
Through her lecturing she meets a foreign student, well educated, eager to learn and who also seems to share an attraction that brings the two together in a passionate affair. However she is under close scrutiny as she works on such a sensitive and secretive project and it isn't long before her company's security visit her and discuss the affair, questioning the motives of her student and lover and planting doubts in her own mind. Is he using her to get to the project or are the stereotypes and prejudices around her getting inside her head and threatening this new found relationship?
I am going to leap directly towards Helen McCrory for she's a great actress who delivers a superb natural performance throughout the film that is thoroughly convincing and makes you completely believe in her character and understanding her dilemma. What's more, and it isn't something that I've particularly thought about in relation to her before, is that she is incredibly sensual and really does show some sexually charged scenes, she's not only a great actress she can also get the heart racing too, and she did.
I admit that I'm writing this review a little while after seeing the film and working from my extensive notes and memories but some of these scenes stick in my mind extremely well and most of them where McCrory is at the fore. Her performance here, although not as risqué does remind me of moments in actresses careers such as Sharon Stone's in Basic Instinct just with much more depth and class. She's older than Hollywood would typically portray such a character and playing a strong and positive female role, something you might not typically see and she deserves plenty of recognition for it.
Of course it isn't all about McCrory for there are other aspects to the film that help it be the strong thriller it is. Her character and the story around it are very well written delivering a realistic and modern story that doesn't leap on clichés and stereotypes. It presents the characters and ideas in a modern and real world view filled with shades of grey and a cloudy moralistic stance.
What I found most interesting was the presentation of the father's arguments, played by Kenneth Cranham, and how they seemed to reflect the logical and perhaps audience wide feelings more than any other character. He was on the edge watching what was happening and I felt I tended to agree with him more than any other character, even more than the leading character. You could see her making poor decisions but the film never makes any judgement calls on any of the characters preferring to present them as they are, give the different characters different viewpoints, let the main character make her mistakes as she is caught up in her emotions and allow the audience to connect with whomever they felt closest too without judgements or preaching of morals.
The story plays cleverly on current world paranoia; exposing them in the clear day of such a direct story and making you look at them in a cold, hard light that hopefully should have you reconsidering them. Not that I'm giving anything away for the story, just that seeing them played out by some of the ancillary characters and how they then affect the leading lady, bringing out her own paranoia and then how that affects her life is quite revealing and shows us the negative aspects that such stereotyping has.
We shouldn't forget as well that there is a strong modern love story in here too and Flying Blind doesn't just deliver a thriller but a passionate, sexual and character rich story. You feel for the two characters at times and the romantic and passionate scenes feel part of their relationship helping to build it rather than, in so many films you see, just tacked on for thrills and an extra dimension to the story.
The thriller is nicely paced and does give you a few unexpected turns, you're never totally sure which side people really are on and who is right or wrong, and those uncertainties carry right through to the end as the story blurs the lines of right and wrong and of black and white very well.
Flying Blind is a superbly written and well paced thriller that is character and story rich reflecting modern and more realistic characters than you might normally see. Helen McCrory gives a superb performance and delivered another side to her character over the one I was expecting to see. With a nicely filmed and engaging story around her you will find yourself drawn into the story and your preconceptions quietly challenged.
I really enjoyed Flying Blind, it's an intelligent and adult British thriller that is a breath of fresh air in a world of pandering teen friendly stories. Here we're challenged and made to think and at the same time engaged and entertained. I'd very much recommend Flying Blind.