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FLOCK, THE: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
Erroll Babbage (Richard Gere) is a Dept of Public Safety registrant administrator of sexual offenders in New Mexico; but following complaints against him, he's about to take involuntary retirement. His young replacement, Allison Lowry (Claire Danes) gets a shock when she sees his unorthodox methods of keeping an eye on released offenders - his 'flock' - who live in the community covered by Babbage. His professional interest has developed into a vendetta that threatens to make him nearly as big a monster as those he pursues. But then Erroll has some guilt demons of his own. When 17 year old Harriet Wells (Kristina Sisco) disappears, Erroll fears she may be another victim unless he finds her. Preferably with Allison's help.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Hong Kong crime specialist Andy Lau of Infernal Affairs fame, makes his English language directing debut with this solid thriller set in New Mexico, where Erroll Babbage (Richard Gere) is about to tidy of his desk for the last time as a registrant administrator. That's like the equivalent of a council ranger, except his beat is the area's registered sex offenders, living post-prison lives in the community. And under his watchful eye. Gere is good in these intense roles, full of authority and matching physicality. He can make a glance look like a death sentence.

Claire Danes, always in feisty roles that let her make a three dimensional character, matches Gere as the young recruit Allison, who will take his place at the desk. The screenplay explores the potential for those working in this environment, like Erroll, to lose perspective and judgement, seeking to mete out justice on their own terms. The story is well put together and keeps us involved as Erroll and Allison work together in the now familiar old school/new school scenario. This is given a few twists to refresh the situation, and the development of the plot is worked for maximum tension.

The baddies are just as good: KaDee Strickland is especially impressive as Viola, the woman whose husband was executed for sex-linked murder, and both Matt Schulze as Glenn Custis and Russell Sams as Edmund Grooms are chillingly effective as sex offenders of the worst kind.

The film didn't get a theatrical release in Australia (nor in several other places, but it did screen at the 2008 Palm Beach Film Festival) and generally slipped under the radar, possibly for contractual or financing reasons, until now; considering the high profile stars and the well known action guy, Andy Lau, it's a mystery why that was. The DVD carries interviews with the two stars, sliced up in traditional Electronic Press Kit fashion.

Published November 20, 2008

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

FLOCK, THE: DVD (MA)
(US, 2007)

CAST: Richard Gere, Claire Danes, KaDee Strickland, Ray Wise, Russell Sams, Avril Lavigne, Kristina Sisco, Dwayne L. Barnes, Matt Schulze, Debrianna Mansini, Ed Ackerman, French Stewart

PRODUCER: Jenette Kahn, Philippe Martinez, Larry Rapaport, Adam Richman, Elie Samaha

DIRECTOR: Andy Lau

SCRIPT: Hans Bauer, Craig Mitchell

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Enrique Chediak

EDITOR: Tracy Adams, Martin Hunter

MUSIC: Guy Farley

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Lester Cohen

RUNNING TIME: 100 minutes

PRESENTATION: 16:9; DD 5.1

SPECIAL FEATURES: Interviews with Richard Gere and Claire Danes

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Sony

DVD RELEASE: November 5, 2008







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