The Flood tells a brutal story of pain, suffering and revenge. We witness the introduction of Jarah (Alexis Lane) who has a husband Waru (Shaka Cook) and a young daughter named Binda. When Jarah is taken away from her land and removed from her family, she is used instead as indentured labour. She is also consistently brutally tortured and raped with no one willing to help her. Having been removed from her family along with the loss of all innocence births a thirst for revenge in Jarah. She plots an escape with desires of revenge upon all who have wronged her.
The Flood is a drama film filled with uncomfortable moments along with many brutal and gritty elements. I personally enjoyed the western vibes this film provided. The film also takes risks as it tackles reconciliation, compassion, understanding and forgiveness. Fun fact- I was surprised to hear that this Australian movie is now classed as a ‘visual archive’. This is because it shows Australian landscapes destroyed in the horrific fires of 2020 in Kangaroo Valley, Victoria.
Written and directed by Victoria Wharfe McIntyre, it is evident that someone is passionate to bring this story to life. While some moments might seem challenging to watch, it is apparent that the director expresses respect to the story and culture. Performances for the most part are pleasing, but I can’t deny that some of the line deliveries come across slightly flat which weakens some of the film’s key characters.
Visually this film is quite stunning. At no point could I fault the picture quality. It is so impressive I was surprised not to see this film receive a blu-ray disc treatment. I have the same respect for the audio track as for the visuals. The audio design is incredible, especially the sound effects, including nature, wind and fire. The dialogue was also filmed well and easy to hear.
Pacing throughout the film is undoubtedly questionable. The pacing style, especially during the first act, may confuse audience members at first. Once viewers understand the film’s style, it is a different experience, but still questionable. The film is also loaded with flashbacks which are sometimes only shown to the audience for a split second, or possibly longer. It is certainly an artistic choice to give a glimpse to a character’s past. For me, there were moments where I found this effect pleasing and other times where I found it somewhat distracting.
Overall, this is a touching Australian film with enormous praise going to the film’s visuals and sound effects. The film has many other positives and a few elements that I’m honestly half and half on. Some of these include strong performances, unusually quick flashbacks that didn’t always work for me and the film’s general pace. Nevertheless, this film is oozing with passion from the film’s director and writer as they deliver a touching and brutal story to the big screen.
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Review Written by Peter Walkden