In Like Flynn (2018)
The most recent portrayal of Errol Flynn to grace the silver screen was Kevin Kline’s depiction of an aging scoundrel in The Last of Robin Hood. In Like Flynn portrays the rascal in his youth. Loosely based on his novel ‘Beam Ends’, which in turn was loosely based on his voyage up the east coast of Australia, In Like Flynn attempts to convey the carefree attitude of the actor’s best swashbuckler’s but is all too often hindered by plodding dialogue, uneven acting and an inherently episodic storyline.
Having returned to Sydney after escorting some pansy Hollywood-types through the jungles of New Guinea, Flynn recklessly decides to return to the island aboard his newly acquired ‘Sirocco’, a yacht more suited to short harbour cruises than months at sea. Joining him on this adventure are his sceptical friend Rex, a naïve navigator nicknamed Dook and former owner of the Sirocco, Charlie. Though their tussles with the sea and the ship’s temperamental engine create havoc for the inexperienced crew, their excursions on land prove to be even more hazardous. It’s also where the movie tends to run aground as well.
In their roles as Chinese smugglers, corrupt cops and spurned lovers, the cast are seemingly encouraged to pitch their performances to an audience that, courtesy of a gruesome opening sequence, won’t be able to see the film without an accompanying parent or adult guardian. Fortunately, Thomas Cocquerel as Flynn remains on an even keel, displaying a refreshing ease and charm that the biopic itself struggles to sustain.
Recalling their adventure years later, Flynn remarks to his friend that the story wouldn’t make a half-bad picture. It did.
The futility of fact-checking a movie based on a novel that was a fanciful account of Flynn’s own adventures is best illustrated the by the varying accounts of the Sirocco's fate.
Sirocco is wrecked off the coast of New Guinea in the final stages of the voyage. Flynn knocked unconscious by a blast from a fire aboard ship. Dook and Charlie perish. Rex and Flynn barely make it make it to shore.
Sirocco is wrecked off the coast of New Guinea in the final stages of the voyage. Flynn knocked unconscious by a broken mast. Dook and a native New Guinean perish, but the rest of crew survive.
Sirocco is wrecked off the coast of New Guinea three months after the completion of the voyage. Dook and Charlie not even aboard the ship. Flynn, Rex and a female passenger survive unscathed.
The Sydney Morning Herald
12th December 1930
No scene recreations in this biopic. Though the Captain Blood setup depicted at the end of In Like Flynn may have adorned many a movie poster, it does not exist in the actual film.