Eye For Film >> Movies >> Flag Day (2021) Film Review
Reviewed by: Richard Mowe
The main attraction in this tale of a young woman trying to understand her dysfunctional and pathological liar of a father is the pairing of director and star Sean Penn with his daughter Dylan (who has received a Rising Star award at the Deauville Film Festival).
Based on the real-life recollections of journalist Jennifer Vogel surrounding her conman dad (revealed in her 2004 book Film-Flam Man) it has the kind of appeal associated with scam artists.
Dylan takes the role of Jennifer who, during a disrupted childhood with her younger brother, gradually gets the measure of her father. It’s a performance of some insight and persuasion. Her father Sean, who plays the patriarch with big ideas most of which never come to fruition, has a certain charm invested in the character - and there is a complicity in the playing between the two of them.
The two children are forced to live with their equally irresponsible mother (Katheryn Winnick) until, at breaking point, Jennifer and her younger sibling decide that living with dad might be a better and more fun option.
Vogel Sr admitted to robbing banks and produced counterfeit notes to the value of $22 million - and the scenes where the police reveal to Jennifer the extent of her father’s misdemeanours book-end the film.
Penn’s direction includes lots of overly arty shots of nature and wafting wheat fields (by cinematographer Danny Moder) and he also over-relishes the shouting matches between the protagonists to the point they become tedious.
As a snapshot of the influence parents bring to bear on their offspring it lacks engagement for the audience and takes the attitude that everyone watching should be enrapt by the self-importance Penn brings to bear.
Dylan fares better than her father, providing an assured portrait of a young woman who manages despite everything to make start on a career as an investigative journalist.
Flag Day was released in the US on 20 August/French release is on 29 September /UK release date still awaitedReviewed on: 05 Sep 2021