Friday, February 1, 2013


Directed by: Robert Zemeckis
Starring: Denzel Washington, Nadine Valazquez, Bruce Greenwood, Don Cheadle & John Goodman
Released: 2012
Runtime: 138 minutes
Rating: 4/5

It’s been twelve years since veteran director Robert Zemeckis made his last live action film; that film being the multi award winning Cast Away. In those twelve years he directed three computer animated films that utilized that latest in motion capture technology at the time. I haven’t bothered seeing these films; they just never captured my interest to be honest.

So now Zemeckis is back to making films with real people in them instead of just their voices. And what he has given us after over a decade of waiting is Flight; which opened in the United States back in October and finally opened here in the merry old land of Oz only yesterday January 31st; better late than never as they say. It actually makes its way to DVD, Blu-ray and Digital on February 5th in the U.S so that something I don’t have to wait for.

Flight is the story of commercial airline pilot Capt. Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington) who saves a flight from a catastrophic crash by performing miraculous emergency landing saving the lives of his crew and passengers. But toxicology reports as a result of blood being drawn from Capt. Whitaker after the crash revealed that he had alcohol in his system. Now with the official hearing into the cause of the accident looming he faces possible criminal charges which may very well result in a lengthy prison term.     

I’ve been aching to see this film for months and I couldn’t get to the cinema fast enough yesterday and I can gladly say I thoroughly enjoyed it, despite a few little issues I had with it.
It’s definitely a character piece; the actual ‘flight’ part of the film happens at the beginning; which is just absolutely terrifying to say the least. Zemeckis must not like flying very much as per the almost equally terrifying plane crash in Cast Away. But talking about getting the heart racing; it’s such a well-directed sequence which I knew was coming yet it still caught me off guard.

The rest of the film focuses on Washington’s character dealing with the aftermath which he spends doing so intoxicated most of the time, while his lawyer played by Don Cheadle tries to avoid him facing any prosecution. I don’t think it’s a spoiler saying that he has a drinking problem as I think the film’s trailers hints at that quite strongly. The film however seems to reinforce that fact a little too much, to the point where you just want to say “Okay I get it, he’s an alcoholic!” That part is drawn out too long which does slow the film down quite a bit in places.

Soundtracks are important to a film as they help convey the mood and tone effectively. But some of the many classic songs that feature in this film’s soundtrack don’t particularly fit all that well, in one scene especially where it throws off the tone and takes you out of what is supposed to be a serious scene. But apart from that it’s a pretty solid soundtrack.

Denzel Washington delivers his finest performance in years. He portrays very much a tragic figure; a man who is clearly an extremely skilled pilot but also clearly has some very serious personal issues which has caused him a great deal of headache over the course of his life. He’s devastating to watch on screen; Washington really does capture that raw emotion. You want this guy to get his life in together but like with most people struggling with addiction it’s very much an uphill battle. The supporting cast are all very good; Don Cheadle as I mentioned above, Bruce Greenwood of whom I’m a fan of plays a close friend to Washington’s character and type of union rep for pilots and such. And relative new comer Nadine Valazquez who plays a love interest who is over coming her own problems in relation to addiction. John Goodman has a minor role which you could say is also a throw away role, I didn’t like his character and going back to what I said about the soundtrack he kind of throws off the tone with his antics.

Flight is up for you two Academy Awards; Best Writing, Screenplay from John Gatins and Best Actor from Denzel Washington. It’s unlikely they’ll win given the strong competition this year but still much deserved nominations.

Flight isn’t about anything really original or a 
theme that hasn’t been done a lot before. I mean the whole addiction drama has almost become a kind of cliché genre. But this Robert Zemeckis has delivered a well-paced film that is carried by Washington’s character that is complex and captivating. It’s a very emotional journey and the lead up to the film’s conclusion is a tad predictable but I still found it to be very satisfying and inspiring. 

My first thoughts of Flight straight after I came out of the cinema 
and my very first in-car video review.

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