Flying Blind is showing tonight at The Filmhouse – for one night only.
In Flying Blind, a woman who has dedicated her life to her career, as a designer of military drones, finds her carefully constructed world falling apart when she falls in love with a man who might be more than he appears.
The first thing to note about Flying Blind is something that in an ideal world would not be in the slightest bit noteworthy: here is a feature film where the central character is a single woman in her forties, who is neither depressed by her singledom nor embarrassed by her sexuality.
As Frankie, Helen McCrory is a captivating presence. She has the intelligent eyes of an aerospace engineer, the beaming smile of someone in the first flush of a new relationship, and the potty mouth of a woman in a traditionally male-dominated profession. It is absolutely no surprise that a man twenty years her junior would fall for her. That man is Kahil, a French-Algerian refugee on a student visa, whose interests in Frankie may or may not extend beyond the romantic. The exoticness of Kahil’s Muslim background soon gives way to suspicion when Frankie is told that he is a person of interest to the Security Services.
This is the point where Polish director Katarzyna Klimkiewicz gives us the central questions of the film, which are whether anyone can really be trusted and, in this world of heightened security and vigilance we now inhabit, are our preconceptions of someone a help or a hindrance. As Frankie begins to question the motives and intentions of her new man, the story turns from a character piece to a detective yarn with racially-charged overtones. This third act shift could have been dangerously approaching the type of ham-fisted “is he or isn’t he a terrorist” plot we have seen in a thousand oh-so-serious dramas over the last decade and a half (such as Homeland, starring McCrory’s husband Damien Lewis). Luckily for Flying Blind, the classy cast combined with the director’s restraint and belief in her characters manage to keep things on an even keel.
Speaking of a classy cast, our leading lady is ably supported by Kenneth Cranham as Frankie’s father, and Najib Oudghiri as Kahil, with Robbie Coltrane’s former Cracker nemesis Lorcan Cranitch as Morehouse, the MI6 man trying to keep tabs on all concerned.
After having its World Premiere here at last summer’s Film Festival, Flying Blind returns to Edinburgh for a screening at the Filmhouse TODAY at 6:10, followed by a filmmakers’ Q&A. The movie then heads out west to play at the Glasgow Film Theatre on Sunday April 28th at 5pm, with Kenneth Cranham in attendance.