The Flood is most effective when depicting Haile’s journey, less so when focusing on a privileged white woman’s personal issues helping her shed her steely demeanor. Who’s to say that Haile’s case is any worse than the thousands she’s sent back to certain death? Woodley surely does his best to portray it as such. Convicted with treason back home, Haile is whipped and tortured for six days, before escaping by way of crawling, then almost drowning and finding temporary shelter at a camp.
His goal is to get to the United Kingdom. Upon meeting a Pakistani man with a pregnant wife, Haile’s story becomes even more overwrought. After hitching a ride on the lorry with the help of a trafficker, Nasrat (Arsher Ali), Haile prioritizes his humanity over his own safety. I’ll let you discover whether Wendy will do the same.
“…nearly sinks under the weight of its contrivances, but is barely kept afloat by its two central performances.”
There are certainly moments of genuine poignancy to be found. Headey, a screen veteran, does what she can with an underwritten character. Ivanno Jeremiah’s Haile fares better in the more memorable part, his sincerity, and kindness forming the heart of the film. Woodley captures some vivid images (Haile’s taped-up shoes) and sequences (an intense fight sequence inside the lorry). Sadly, the narrative stumbles over too many forced moments (the extended death of a key central character being one).
“I could not remember my own name,” Haile states in one of the film’s more powerful scenes. Stripped of their identity, their homes, refugees deserve a nuanced and truthful representation of their harrowing lives. Human Flow examined their journey through an epic lens, an actual flood of dislocated human beings seeking shelter and love. Transit took a different, artfully dystopian approach that worked in its favor. Midnight Traveler, perhaps the most intimate of the three, assumed the perspective of one of the refugees and his family, taking us inside the conflict. The Flood is neither here nor there, seeping right through the cracks.
"…the plight of refugees has been cinematically depicted on numerous occasions."