FLAG DAY – A Review By Gadi Elkon

FLAG DAY is out in theaters today and here is Gadi Elkon’s review of the film.

 

Jennifer Vogel’s father John was larger than life. As a child, Jennifer marveled at his magnetizing energy and ability to make life feel like a grand adventure. He taught her so much about love and joy, but he also happened to be the most notorious counterfeiter in US history.

Sean Penn certainly has kept family connections intake in his film adaptation of Jennifer Vogel’s book about her infamous father.  Penn acts and directs his own children Dylan and Hopper in FLAG DAY.  The film is told through Jennifer’s eyes as she witnesses the reality behind her father’s epic life.  Dylan Penn is given a real treat to fully realize the character embodied by the real life Vogel.  She showcases a wide range and the film truly can be considered a calling card to her acting pedigree.  Kathryn Winnick gives a rather strong supporting performance as Jennifer’s mother Patty.  Josh Brolin and Sean Penn both have intriguing moments with their performances but very much are supporting to Dylan’s tour de force.  Along with Dylan, both Jadyn Rylee and Addison Tymec carry their portrayals of younger versions of Jennifer.   Regina King kicks things off nicely with a brief cameo and the always game Eddie Marsan even sneaks in a subtle cameo role that harps to Jennifer’s writing!

The film has a really stylistic feel that seems heavy on nostalgic notes that are amplified by a wonderful group of song choices throughout the film.  The father-daughter family dynamic is fully given its trifecta of power with Olivia Vedder’s song “My Father’s Daughter”.  The song is apart of a stellar soundtrack that includes her own famous father.

But through the lovely cinematic work and terrific performances the film has an extremely slowed pace.  The film is labelled as a thriller but the turtle pace truly nullifies the raised reality of Jack Vogel’s infamous work.  The movie does its best to connect to the audience this notion of family connections but the sluggish unfolding story is just to boring to stick.  I found myself yearning for some form of dive into seeing Jack’s real life antics.  The POV through Jennifer may have been detrimental to the film version of her book.  Jennifer’s book FLIM-FLAM MAN holds so much more excitement as we are given the full view she had of her father’s epic run.  The film opens with the famous high speed chase but we are missing the huge tv telling on UNSOLVED MYSTERIES or the massive police work needed to track down Jack’s many schemes.  Sean Penn may have been better to watch CATCH ME IF YOU CAN to see a film that tackles a con artist’s life in its unique entertaining way.  ROAD TO PERDITION comes to mind of a film that has a main point of view of a child of an infamous figure’s epic fall that would have been a good inspiration.

This film has some quality but as far as whether its worth you time it sadly doesn’t deliver.  I give the film 3 stars solely based on the performances and lovely soundtrack.

FLAG DAY

Directed by: Sean Penn

Written by: Jez Butterworth (screenplay) and Jennifer Vogel (story by)

Rated: R

Selig Rating: 3 Stars

Running Time: 1h 47min

Drama, Thriller

Simultaneous Release: In theaters  August 20th

Starring: Sean Penn, Katheryn Winnick, Josh Brolin, Eddie Marsan, Regina King, Dylan Penn, Hopper Penn and James Russo

 

The Selig Rating Scale:

5 Stars – Excellent movie, well worth the price.

4 Stars – Good movie

3 Stars – OK movie

2 Stars – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.

1 Star – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn’t paid for it.

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