Film review: The Flood

The refugee crisis is at the heart of this powerful film, writes Linda Marric


In Anthony Woodley’s The Flood, Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister in Game Of Thrones) stars as a hardened British immigration officer who is entrusted with deciding the fate of a high profile asylum seeker (Ivanno Jeremiah). Written by Helen Kingston and Executive produced by Headey herself, the film offers a gut-wrenching account of the real human cost behind the current refugee crisis in Europe. 

After he is discovered knife-in-hand attempting to enter the UK illegally in the back of a lorry, Eritrean refugee Haile (Jeremiah) is arrested on suspicion of terrorism and led away by border police at Dover. Faced with increased media interest in the story, immigration official Philip (Game Of Thrones’ Ian Glenn) enlists the help of Wendy (Headey), one of his best and most desensitised officers to swiftly assess the validity of Haile’s asylum application and decide whether he presents a terrorism risk.

Haile’s story is revealed in flashbacks as he is questioned by a seemingly disinterested and increasingly irritated Wendy. At first unmoved by a tale she’s heard a thousand times before, Wendy who has been going through a personal crisis of her own, is soon taken aback by the asylum seeker’s frank and amiable demeanour. From war-torn Eritrea to the “Calais Jungle”, we are taken step by step through the 5000 kilometre journey made by a desperate man in the hope of starting a new life in England.

Offering a narrative which can at first seem slightly contrived, The Flood still manages to tell a deeply moving story whilst highlighting the mindless bureaucracy met by some of the most deprecate people in the world. Director Anthony Woodley does a great job in mixing realism and melodrama in this small, yet powerful production which is based on several real life stories of refugees and ex Home Office officials. 

Lena Headey gives one of her finest performances to date. She offers Wendy as a pragmatic and deeply troubled individual who learns to reconcile with her own conscience when faced with her own prejudice. For his part, Ivanno Jeremiah (Humans, Black Mirror) puts in an impressive turn as the hugely likeable Haile whose own infectious wide-eyed optimism can’t help but rub off on everyone around him.

The Flood presents a thoughtful and timely reflection on the humanity within the refugee crisis. Released to coincide with World Refugee Day, the film does what it set out to do by humanising the stories behind, the sometimes, inflammatory headlines.

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