Written by Guillermo Troncoso.
A pilot manages to save a plane from crashing, but the investigation that follows shows that the pilot may not be a complete hero after all.
The marketing for Flight has focused heavily on the plane crash sequence – and with good reason. The sequence is one of the most realistic and terrifying “plane disaster” scenes ever filmed. But this isn’t what the film is truly about. The plane crash is merely a backdrop to the main issue being dealt with: addiction.
The film opens with Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington) waking up in a hotel room with a naked woman after a night of sex and drugs. He proceeds to drink and snorts a line of cocaine. It’s not something we’re used to seeing from director Robert Zemeckis, who after making great live-action films like the Back To The Future trilogy, Forrest Gump and Cast Away, decided to explore the world of motion-capture with The Polar Express, Beowulf and A Christmas Carol. It’s great to see Zemeckis back in the “real world”.
This is a true character study about a man who is slowly being forced to confront his addictions. Denzel Washington gives a remarkable performance as Whip Whitaker, a deeply troubled man who is determined to stay on his downward spiral. His portrayal of a man caught in a web of lies and denial is both heartbreaking and infuriating. You feel sympathy whilst wanting to slap some hard sense into him.
There are plenty of great supporting performances too. Kelly Reilly is fantastic as a woman who falls for Whip while dealing with her own demons, Bruce Greenwood is great as his one true friend and Don Cheadle does his usual fine work as Whip’s lawyer.
Zemeckis has directed a great adult drama. Overall, some may find the film’s pacing a little too languid and the overall experience slightly depressing, but this man’s journey to redemption is both fascinating and moving.
THE REEL SCORE: 8/10