An airline pilot saves a flight from crashing, but an investigation into the malfunctions reveals something troubling.
It has been 12 years since the legendary Robert Zemeckis has directed a live action film. His last one? Cast Away. With a movie like that and Forest Gump in your resume people expect great things, but since it has been so long since he has made a movie with real people, who knows what to expect?
The story is about an airplane pilot, Whip Whitaker, played by Denzel Washington, who through unthinkable methods saves a plane from crashing and killing everyone on board. The viewer sees something beforehand, though: Whip was drunk the night before, the morning of, and during the flight. It’s clear that he is both a veteran pilot and a veteran drinker, and he never loses control of the situation, but of course being intoxicated is inexcusable, and the airline hires Hugh Lang, a high-quality lawyer from Chicago played by Don Cheadle, to help clear Whip of fault in the ensuing investigation.
The scene where the actual plane malfunctioning and crashing occurs was one of my favorite scenes of the year. It was very subtle and almost low key, no backing music or other sounds, it was very quiet and calm, creating some nerve-wracking footage.
Apart from this, the movie gave me a lot of mixed reactions, none of them particularly good. I think the focus was a little too much on Washington. There is a lot of screen time spent with Whip on his grandfather’s farm with his new found friend and fellow drug abuser Nicole, played by Kelly Reilly, that I found boring and pointless. I thought the film could have used a good amount more of Cheadle, Bruce Greenwood as a colleague of Whip’s, and scenes and information regarding the court case against Whip and it’s details. I did get enough of John Goodman‘s loud, drug dealing character, however.
The film has this weird flip-flopping of moods between dark and dramatic and some more upbeat style with rock and roll music plastered on top. I think they should have stayed with the dramatic and not forced in the in-your-face mood changes, although the way they use it in the hotel scene at the end with their case strategy was pretty entertaining. The whole last 30 minutes of the film were really good, just as the beginning was, but the middle ground was where the movie lost me.
2.5/4 – Flight is a well written story with a thrilling crash scene and some funny, entertaining tidbits, but the movie’s middle was bland and had, dare I say it, too much Denzel.