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Flight

2013-01-24 10:53
 
Denzel Washington goes dark as an alcoholic pilot who pulls off a mid-air miracle - at a hefty personal cost.
What's it about?

Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington) is a seasoned airline pilot who miraculously crash-lands his plane after a mid-air catastrophe, saving nearly everyone on board. After the crash, Whip is hailed as a hero, but as more is learned, more questions than answers arise as to who or what was really at fault, and what really happened on that plane?

What we thought:

This is a film with an appropriately timed release. It tells the story of a man celebrated for his skill and heroism but who also hides a dark secret. Based on that, the parallels with a certain Mr. Lance Armstrong are pretty obvious. In the case of Armstrong, that dark secret was a doping regimen which helped him win seven Tour de France titles. In the case of this film's character, it's alcoholism.

Whip Whitaker is an airline pilot who one day finds himself at the helm of a flight where things go frighteningly awry. With the aid of his almost superhuman skills and by remaining incredibly calm under the circumstances, Whip brings a flight which, by all accounts, should have crashed with zero survivors, to a landing, with only six casualties.

All told, with a total of a hundred and two passengers on board, Whip ends up saving ninety-six. But a toxicology test reveals that while piloting the plane, Whip was under the influence of cocaine and a worrying amount of alcohol.

Whip has a severe drinking problem. He is what is known as a functioning alcoholic, and, like Armstrong, it is arguably his chemical of choice which gives him the ability to pull off the life-saving manouevre he does at the beginning of the film.

Flight is the twenty-fourth film in the career of director Robert Zemickis (Back to the Future trilogy, Romancing the Stone, Forrest Gump). Zemickis has always been a consummate storyteller, never one to let himself nor his considerable technical skills get in the way of the story he is telling. It's a pity then that, despite working with material with much potential to it, he fails to properly dig into it. Barring it's beginning and resolution, the film feels sluggish and unfocused.

This is a film about addiction and, by extension, the lies that help to sustain an addiction. Whip has spent a good long time lying about his drinking problem. Given that, I would have liked seeing more of the dichotomy between Whip's dishonesty and his reality, the struggle of maintaining a lie under the pressure of having everyone's eye on you. There's drama in that and its absence here is much felt.

Still, Zemickis' cast put in fine performances. Washington, as the pilot Whitaker, maintains a face of outward strength, even as it's clear that the man's life is unravelling. Kelly Reilly, playing a character dealing with her own drug addiction, does a fine job playing someone who has to make the hard choices of sorting out her own problems even while she can see Whitaker’s life falling apart. And having Don Cheadle and John Goodman in your cast is never a bad thing.

Flight is a film with compelling performances but a story that lacks the heft it might have had with better direction. It's is not a bad film, just one that fails to rise to the potential presented by the material.

Read more on:    denzel washington  |  celebrities  |  flight  |  movies
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(Comments may be edited or deleted at the Channel24 editors’ discretion)
Shirley Mills 1/24/2013 11:28 AM
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Brilliant movies
Neil Brown 1/24/2013 2:44 PM
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Very good movie
Avukile Dlanga 1/24/2013 3:24 PM
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Superb & Denzel is top-notch actor which makes it a must see movie
Aurora 1/25/2013 8:36 AM
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Briliant stuff!
DR 1/25/2013 9:18 AM
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Awesome movie......
Sihle 1/25/2013 10:37 AM
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Really enjoyed this movie.....
Clemens Tuli 1/26/2013 12:22 AM
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He is simply the best.. Fantastic..!
Crizelle Mulder 1/28/2013 1:08 PM
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Loved the movie .... the ending brought me to tears.
PreciousN 1/28/2013 6:34 PM
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An absolute thrill to watch....in true Denzel Washington style.The man just never disappoints!
Shah noor 2/1/2013 11:13 AM
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Briliant movie......Denzel never disappoints. The VFX was the bomb.
Miss Pru 2/4/2013 1:16 PM
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Brilliant movie , enjoyed it a lot!!!
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