The Flock
review by Neo

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Year: 2007

Box Office: Unknown (Let me know by email)

Director: Andrew Lau

Producer: Andrew Lau

Starring: Richard Gere, Clare Danes, Avril Lavigne

Genre: Thriller/Sexual Offenders

Tagline: A disappointing Hollywood debut from the director of Infernal Affairs…

Review by Neo: It is still little wonders why on earth a flick starring acclaimed actors Richard Gere and Clare Danes and adding to the fact that it is being directed by HKís most commercially successful director for the last decade, Andrew Lau, The Flock is being released straight on to DVD. Perhaps it is the controversial subject matter surrounding the flick premises, or maybe it is the controversial sacking of director Lau, causing a number of scenes to be re-shoot by a virtually unknown director. Still, while The Flock is disappointing, at the very least, the premises is fresh and the first 40 minutes isnít exactly half bad. So does it deserve the direct to DVD treatment that it is getting, while there is no doubt that Neo have seen far worst.

One thing about films from Andrew Lau is that it is almost guarantee to look good and it is not a question, but rather a statement that Lau have been a cinematographer for many years. It is unfortunate that the script just never seem to match the eyes of Lau, but then again, this may well be due to his reliance on Alan Mak (Co-director of Infernal Affairs and Initial D) or maybe it works both ways.

In terms of transition of Asian directors into the Hollywood arena, only John Woo, Ang Lee or possibly Wong Kar Wai (My Blueberry Nights) have been able to come up with some form of both critically and commercial success, the long list of failures includes Tsui Hark, Ringo Lam and more recently the Pang Brothers. Perhaps, it is the pressure of working on such a bigger budget or the increase pressure of doing too much to impress a foreign industry. Nonetheless, letís hope that Andrew Lau will not just give up on Hollywood and gives it at least another crack and hopefully be united with the vision and scriptwriting of Alan Mak in the near future.

Richard Gere is getting older and at times he looks more than his 58 years and while he is convincing in his role, Gere is his normal self and his limited range continues to show. It is certainly a far cry from his charismatic performance in Chicago. Clare Danes is an interesting actress, at 29, she looks beyond 35, but luckily when it comes to crying and screaming, Danes is an expert. Not exactly an eye catching performance, but she certainly deserves much more. Popular singer Avil Lavigne appears in a cameo to show that she is still damn pretty, but she somehow managed to ruin the only scene that she is captured.

All in all, The Flock is what Neo will claim as disappointing cinema. Without being a overtly pessimistic, The Flock is an interesting premises, adequately directed, at times even beautiful to look at and adding to the mix, the beginning 40 minutes isnít half bad. Unfortunately, the subject matter will never impress the Hollywood audience and with a rushed and gushed up final hour, The Flock suffers in terms of believability and the boring mood that the film eventually distorted to. Director Andrew Lau can direct and one need to look no further than Infernal Affairs, but maybe all he needs is his partner Alan Mak to come to his aid… (Neo 2008)

I rate it 5/10

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