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Black Flies

  • Film
Black Flies
Photograph: David Ungaro
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Time Out says

Sean Penn is a grizzled paramedic driver in a grizzly NYC thriller

This New York-set intense drama about the lives, working and personal, of ambulance-speeding parademics lays its style on thick – so thick that reality eventually dies a death as ugly as some of the patients whose lives ebb away before our eyes. Ollie (Tye Sheridan) is a rookie from Colorado, all wide-eyed and idealistic in the big city. Gene (Sean Penn, grizzled, of course) is his old-dog partner, and he’s been through almost as many marriages as the number of flatliners he’s had in the back of the truck.

French director Jean-Stephane Sauvaire (A Prayer Before Dawn) gives us an intoxicating tour of the seedier side of Brooklyn and various dying patients via woozy camerawork and a pile-up of grim incidents. But attempts to make sense of the private lives of Ollie and Gene are dogged with cliché and it’s hard to shake the sense that Sauvaire’s tour of the New York borough cynically piggybacks on the reality of poverty and crime. Black Flies has energy to spare but it’s tough to believe.

Black Flies premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.

Dave Calhoun
Written by
Dave Calhoun

Cast and crew

  • Director:Jean-Stephane Sauvaire
  • Screenwriter:Ben Mac Brown, Ryan King
  • Cast:
    • Tye Sheridan
    • Sean Penn
    • Katherine Waterston
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