In Like Flynn
Thomas Cocquerel, Corey Large, William Moseley, Clive Standen, David Wenham
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…it swings, swashes, and buckles in a way that the man himself would probably have loved.
Errol Flynn – one of Australia’s first ever international movie superstars – was a prolific myth-maker, stoking the fires of his own heady off-screen legend through racy interviews and a series of controversial autobiographical works. The most famous, of course, is 1959’s My Wicked, Wicked Ways: The Autobiography Of Errol Flynn, but the famous rake also penned two others: the 1946 romantic adventure novel, Showdown, and 1937’s Beam Ends, which tracked Flynn’s early seafaring adventures.
The veracity of Flynn’s writings has always been questioned, and seemingly with this in mind, In Like Flynn – the film adaptation of Beam Ends – plays more like a Boy’s Own-style romp than your usual movie star biopic. The results are certainly entertaining, but director, Russell Mulcahy (Razorback, Swimming Upstream), at times appears to be having a little too much fun, dipping into cartoonish goofiness when a tighter hold on the reins was needed.
Set way before Tasmanian-born Errol Flynn (played with the right amount of cocky assurance and swagger by Thomas Cocquerel) even dreamed of big screen stardom, In Like Flynn follows the errant adventurer’s journey up the East Coast of Australia towards Papua New Guinea, where he went to find his fortune. Aboard the dodgily procured yacht, The Sirocco, Flynn and his travelling partners – Canadian street brawler, Rex (Corey Large, who also co-writes and co-produces); prim Englishman, Dook (William Moseley); and harshly seasoned sea-dog, Charlie (Vikings star, Clive Standen, whose full-bodied performance occasionally hits pantomime levels) – encounter drug runners, criminals, crooks, and a very suspect Townsville political player (the hilariously over the top David Wenham) along the way.
Though dotted with sub-par performances (Isabel Lucas is all at sea as a femme fatale), and shaken violently from pillar to post by a wildly divergent tone, In Like Flynn boasts an undeniable charm. The closing scenes of The Sirocco’s more serious, life-threatening trials and tribulations bring a much needed sense of gravity, and while the film doesn’t come close to unravelling Flynn’s complicated psyche, it swings, swashes, and buckles in a way that the man himself would probably have loved.