Flying Blind (3 stars)

Flying Blind

A quietly intriguing drama about an English aerospace engineer with a young, Arab boyfriend

Professional reserve crumbles in the face of an overwhelming romance in Flying Blind, a modest but engrossing micro-budget first feature from director Katarzyna Klimkiewicz. Although there is nothing here that would not sit comfortably on the small screen, the film manages to deftly intertwine pride, prejudice and paranoia as it uses an individual story to reflect a wider climate of unease created by the war on terror.

The film's greatest asset is Helen McCrory who really shines in an all too rare leading role. Her Frankie is a brilliant, fortysomething aerospace engineer, committed to her profession and seemingly indifferent to any ethical issues about the military applications of her research. A chance encounter with young Muslim student Kahil (Najib Oudghiri) leads to a passionate fling in which Frankie believes that she can have it all. The palpable chemistry between McCrory and Oudghiri encourages you to accept the relationship at face value even as the screenplay pokes you in the ribs and encourages you to anticipate the worst (the film flounders somewhat on the insulting notion that the intelligent, attractive Frankie couldn't possible attract a younger lover who didn't harbour some ulterior motive). 'Do you think it wise to have an Arab boyfriend given the nature of your work?' asks Frankie's concerned dad Victor (Kenneth Cranham).

Set in Bristol, the film is given a sleek, crisp look by cinematographer Andrzej Wojciechowski that reflects Frankie's steely nature even as this obviously smart woman is forced into increasingly irrational actions by the demands of the story. Despite the flaws, Flying Blind is a quietly intriguing little drama and a promising feature debut from shorts filmmaker Klimkiewicz.

Limited release from Fri 12 Apr.

Flying Blind

  • 3 stars
  • 2012
  • UK
  • 1h 33min
  • Directed by: Katarzyna Klimkiewicz
  • Cast: Helen McCrory, Najib Oudghiri, Kenneth Cranham, Tristan Gemmill
  • UK release: 12 April 2013

An aerospace engineer (McCrory) strikes up an illicit affair with a younger male student, Top Gun style, but with much more serious consequences.