The plight of refugees has been cinematically depicted on numerous occasions – most recently, in films as wide-ranging, soul-shredding, and inventive as Ai Weiwei’s devastating Human Flow, Christian Petzold’s allegorical Transit, and Hassan Fazili’s searing documentary Midnight Traveler. Anthony Woodley’s dramatic thriller The Flood is yet another examination of this ongoing crisis. It nearly sinks under the weight of its contrivances, but is barely kept afloat by its two central performances. Despite best efforts, Woodley’s soapy feature adds little to the pantheon of the aforementioned instant classics.
“…an Eritrean exile, is an ‘economic migrant, with no dependents’ who attacked a police officer.”
Wendy (Lena Headey), a hardened British immigration officer, deals with hundreds of asylum seekers, day after day. A recent divorcee, Wendy is constantly on the phone with her ex, battling over custody of their daughter. She pours vodka into her water bottle. She’s so clearly close to a breaking point, it is a wonder that her boss Philip (Iain Glen) assigns her Haile’s case.
Haile (Ivanno Jeremiah), an Eritrean exile, is an “economic migrant, with no dependents” who attacked a police officer. Haile stands no chance. Utilizing the oldest technique in the book, Woodley, along with screenwriter Helen Kingston, start Haile’s story in the present, our hero attacking a police officer when caught in the back of a lorry, then reveal, through flashbacks, his arduous journey to get to that point. When Wendy asks Haile to explain why he can’t return to his home country, the man simply states, “They will kill me.”