Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Watch for Flood on Ion Television!

I realized the Brits had an eye for the human-scale disaster movie when I was pretty young - in 1962, when I saw Day of the Triffids. It's still one of the best horror-disaster movies ever made.

Triffids is about plants gone wild. Flood is about bad weather - hurricanes causing devastating floods, in particular.

Flood was first released in the UK in August. It will be shown here in the U.S. on Ion Television - a digital television network - as a four-hour mini-series debuting on December 16.

Don't miss it.

starts, at first, as an unsurprising post-Katrina movie, with maybe a little Jack Bauer mixed in. The establishment meteorologist misses the monstrosity of an approaching storm. An older scientist who predicted it could happen - or, if it did, that the precautions built to make sure it didn't wipe out London were insufficient - has been ignored, and is on the outs with his son, a marine engineer. Life's not the greatest for the son, either, insofar as he and his beautiful Canadian wife, heading up the Thames Barrier operation - designed to prevent flooding - are divorced.

But then the movie takes off - in two top-notch ways. First, Tom Courtenay (who starred in the classic Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner), puts in a superb performance as the father scientist, Leonard Morrison. Courtenay projects a perfect, quiet power rarely seen on television or in the movies. Joanne Whalley also puts in a powerful performance as the Metro Police Commissioner in London, as does David Suchet (Casino Royale!) as Deputy Prime Minster. Robert Carlyle - who was excellent in The Full Monty - is excellent as Leonard's son Rob, and Jessalyn Gilsig (Heroes' Meredith!) is fine as Rob's ex-wife and Thames Barrier chief, too.

And, a shout-out for Ralph Brown and Tom Hardy of Meadowlands. It was good to see them again in Flood.

So the acting is excellent - and better, in fact, than what we usually see in mini-series.

And the story of Flood is better than the usual disaster movie, too. The personal relationships really start to count as the movie proceeds, and the final half-hour had me fixed to my chair, hoping that ...

Well, I don't want to give any of it away. But I can tell you the scenes of London flooded are excellent, the action taut, and the mini-series all together satisfying.

Except - ok, there was one thing. Stuck about 2/3rds into the movie is a scene in which the Deputy Prime Minister is speaking to some American financial honcho with a German accent (Henry Kissinger?). The British DPM is saying the pound is taking a beating because of the flood, and can he count on the Americans to help. And the American creep with the German accent says, no, we can't, we have to make sure the dollar stays strong...

Two things wrong with that scene. One, who the cares about pounds and dollars at a time like this? And second, here's clue for you Brits: don't take gratuitous potshots at Americans, and portray us with German accents, and expect us to like it ... :)

Otherwise - I highly recommend Flood. Keep yours eyes out for it.

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