Films dealing with catastrophe are a Hollywood specialty. One director, Ronald Emmirich, has even made it his business to destroy the world with newer natural calamities in his films. That a British film can match this effects extravaganza yet is wishful thinking.
The British film "Flood" fails in every department.
A storm at sea coincides with high tide and leads to water rushing up the Thames, flooding most of London. When millions of lives are threatened, you can guess where clichéd cinema will rush to - a madcap professor, Leonard Morrison, with all the right calculations and answers at the right time, a man who has pursued science at the cost of a disgruntled family.
The professor`s son Rob (Robert Carlyle) doesn`t even talk to his father. He works for a company providing technology to a company that is building a barrier meant to stop flooding at the Thames. While the son’s estranged wife Samantha works directly for that company.
As you guessed right at this coincidence, it would be up to the Morrison family to save London city, but not without one of them heroically sacrificing his own life in the end.
Catastrophe movies are not just an opportunity for great special effect, but they also provide us with a chance to delve deeper into philosophical and existential concerns of humanity. Though most films, especially the ones by Emmerich have gone in for the special effects, others like "Deep Impact" have indeed delved into such questions effectively.
In Emmerich’s formulaic catastrophe films like "Day After Tomorrow" and the recent "2012", he at least deals with the cause and effect cycle of natural calamities of them being caused by human actions, direct or indirect. "Flood" does not even hint at a reason of any sort.
It is a simplistic story where there’s a problem and a group of people deal with the problem. Nature is simply shown as a villain, instead of also being a probable victim of human excesses.
A good cast of some of the finest British actors has been wasted in what could have been a much better film in the hands of able writers and director. The scenes of flood are too inconsistent to leave an impact.
Attention to detail is missing. Too much time is wasted in lingering at moments which could have been easily skipped. The soundtrack has neither coherence nor consistency with what is happening on screen.
However, considering how one angry volcano in one remote corner of the world brought an entire worlds’ air traffic to standstill, "Flood" might serve as a reminder to those of us who believe in the polemic of human superiority.
We have been, despite our advances in science, and will remain at the mercy of nature. We might want to respect that fact to keep us humble and to prevent the destruction of our way of lives as shown in "Flood" or by the ash spit out by a loud-mouthed volcano.
It is also disconcerting that a film made in 2007 finds release now in Indian theatres. The distributors wanted to capitalise upon the interest generated by "2012", obvious from their promos, not realising that that is precisely the reason a film like "Flood" would fail.
Audiences addicted to the spectacle of a film like "2012" will not take kindly to the lack of it.