Film Review: Flying Blind (15) ***

Helen McCrory and Najib Oudghiri in Flying Blind
Helen McCrory and Najib Oudghiri in Flying Blind
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A COMPANION piece to any of the post-9/11 conspiracy thrillers that have done the rounds since 2001, Flying Blind balances intrigue with raw passion as a 40-something career woman falls headlong for an enigmatic young Arab.

She’s an aeronautical designer working with the military, he’s a student. Or maybe he’s a part-time taxi driver. Frankie (the ever excellent Helen McCrory) doesn’t bother to find out. In Kalil (Najib Oudghiri) she finds the passion that has been lacking in her life.

A debut feature from Katarzyna Klimkiewicz this is a delicious combination of terrorist drama and out-of-control emotional rollercoaster. Soon after meeting, Frankie and Kalil tumble into bed. She cares not about the consequences.

Her father Victor (the redoubtable Kenneth Cranham, another guarantee of quality) feels differently. Thus the scene is set for a distinctly unhappy ending. It is not something Frankie ever contemplates.

Klimkiewicz never uses the backdrop of her tale as a blunt instrument. Instead she rations the appearances of the police and the questions they pose – a portent of things to come – to focus instead on Frankie’s needs and emotional see-sawing.

McCrory is perfect as a woman to whom real passion has come late in life. She morphs from career machine to distracted bubblehead, unable to accept what is being played out before her.

What’s more it’s a wholly plausible characterisation. And always Cranham is there offering a shoulder to cry on and the willingness to provide sage advice.

The restrictions of a low budget are trumped by the cast, which is uniformly solid. Even the smaller roles are cast with conviction; Lorcan 
Cranitch shines as a policeman who knows more than he is saying.

In a landscape festooned with superhero sagas and comic-book extravaganzas Flying Blind offers a break from CGI effects, spaceships and explosions. It is immediate, relevant and quietly visceral and represents a viable alternative to empty, high-concept multiplex tat.

• Flying Blind will be shown at York Picturehouse on April 17 and Sheffield Showroom on April 26. Each show will be followed by a Q&A with the cast and crew.