Flying Home full movie review - could have been cute but Jamie phones it in
I'm a Jamie Dornan fan - his work in BBC2's "The Fall" is superlative.
I rarely would give such praise to a former underwear model (once called "the golden torso" in the New York Times when he modeled for Calvin Klein) and I don't care how lovely he is or that he is about to debut as "the epitome of male beauty" Christian Grey in "Fifty Shades of Grey". I take his performances individually (there are precious few) and this one in a relatively saccharine film about pigeon racing in Belgium of all things is uncomfortable and awkward at best.
I'm not sure when it was filmed but I can hardly believe that the Jamie Dornan here is the same actor playing serial killer Paul Spector in "The Fall" (with the brilliant Gillian Anderson).
*I discovered it was filmed in between Season One and Two of The Fall and by Jamie and the director's own admission came about through a lot of beer drinking, which may have been how Jamie got the job in the first place. I'm thinking such career decisions in the future should not be entrusted to a brewski.
He seems so out of his element he makes me nervous watching him; as if he wants to duck down behind large pieces of furniture and pretend he is anywhere but making this pigeon film in Belgium.
Maybe he needed a vacation and Belgium sounded nice? Maybe he had a break between any work whatsoever and this film and a paycheck was a good idea? Maybe when you're a former underwear model who is yet to be cast as Christian Grey, you've got to take everything that is offered to you?
In "Flying Home" (or "Racing Hearts", it has two different titles), Jamie phones in a lackluster performance with line-readings that are devoid of energy, commitment, direction and interest. It's like he cannot wait to get to the end of the scene and have a beer with the crew.
The script is weak, but the Belgian actors do a decent job with their lines. Jamie however is stuck in some netherworld with his clumsy-sounding, vocal fry American accent, looking pained in a suit in the New York scenes and then looking completely confused once his character is in Belgium.
His soulful blue eyes dart furtively for the most part like he's looking for an escape route. He underplays a drunk scene so badly that it's difficult to tell if he is drunk or just really sleepy. Scenes where he should be amused or amusing fall terribly flat and seem embarrassingly stilted.
He has one scene where he handles a pigeon which seems to be his only honest moment, you can sense a sweetness in him then, it is tender and the only time you get a glimpse of his potential as an actor that he shows in spades in "The Fall".
The rest of the time he is blah and bland and has less than zero chemistry with the actress playing his love interest Isabelle. I don't buy their love story for a millisecond. The disparity in their looks is a bit jarring since Jamie is preternaturally pretty and the Flemish girl has somewhat strong features. But there is nothing going on there, not a spark, not a connection, just lines tumbled out in rote boredom.
In Dornan's defense it's not a very good film, and pigeon racing isn't exactly fascinating. The addition of the World War I sub-plot and the famous war hero carrier pigeon seems like an after-thought.
Furthermore at one point Jamie's character Colin says to Isabelle's grandfather that he had an ancestor who SUPPOS-ABLY died in Flanders in World War I. I cannot believe that no one caught this - not Jamie (who speaks the King's English with an Irish brogue), not the director, editor - no one? This is a high powered young business executive from New York City who thinks the word is suppos-ably and not SUPPOSEDLY?
That pretty much sums up the entire experience. Sloppy, dull and even Jamie's beauty could not carry it. Handsome is as handsome does could not be more true.