Review: Flight

THE SETUP: Sure Denzel Washington can save lives by flying a plane upside down, but he’s got this pesky alcoholism problem that may tip him more towards criminal than hero.

THE THOUGHTS: Well ’tis the season for all the studios, hoping to get Academy Award nominations, to dump their movies for the holidays (You want to be the last movie the Academy sees before they start thinking about who they’re putting forward). So we have Flight. Robert (Forest Gump, Back to the Future) Zemeckis‘ first live action movie in 12-something years and one of the best performances I’ve ever seen from Denzel Washington.

From the trailer, this movie looks like it’s all about the action of landing a doomed plan…but that’s all in the first 20 minutes. The bulk of this movie is firmly resting on the shoulders of Washington, and his ability to cope with the world spotlight while strugging with his own doomed life. He kind of blows everyone else away but there is some good supporting work from Don Cheadle as a lawyer trying to defend the drunk pilot, Bruce Greenwood as Washington’s friend and professional enabler, and Kelly Reilly as a fellow alcoholic trying to turn her life around. I wouldn’t say they’ll get the Academy Award nod but they sure help Denzel look good.

The special effects/action are all in the crash and all used well. Remember, this is the director who crashed Tom Hanks in Castaway. It’s the acting he gets from his lead that’s the reason to see this. I don’t have much experience or interaction with alcoholism but this movie did an amazing job at highlighting the disease and the frustration around overcoming the challenges necessary to put life back on track

FLIGHT Rating:
4 stars – you’d recommend this. The crash is cool and all but it’s the story of a man’s struggle with himself and his disease in the face of media and moral pressure that will really impress you. And Denzel couldn’t have pulled it off better.

Random Recommendations
Romancing the Stone (1984) – Is it a great move? No. Does it seem like a bit of an Indiana Jones rip-off? Sure. Is it still fun? Absolutely. Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner and Danny DeVito go to Columbia to find hidden treasure. I actually forgot that Robert Zemeckis has done this movie, but looking at his track record, the man is good at fun flicks.

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