Every week, our chief movie critic Andrew Campbell, brings us his DVD choice for the week and breaks it down for you to decide whether or not the film is worth watching. This week, Andrew brings us his take on the movie Flight starring Denzel Washington. Let's see what he has to say!
What’s the story?
Flight tells the story of pilot Whip Whitaker who manages to land a stricken jet during a storm in an act that’s nothing short of heroic. But, is everything as it seems? Especially considering Whip is hiding a dark secret that’s not so secret to those closest to him… he’s an alcoholic, who was drunk while flying the plane...
Who’s in it?
Denzel Washington was Oscar nominated this year for his portrayal of Whip Whitaker. Bruce Greenwood is Charlie, the only man who seems to be in Whip’s corner until Don Cheadle (Hotel Rwanda) is appointed as attorney Hugh Lang for Whip. John Goodman is Harling Mays, Whip’s contact for anything that can be snorted. And Kelly Reilly (Sherlock Holmes) plays the part of Nicole, a drug addict Whip meets when he wakes up in hospital after the crash.
Who’s the director?
Robert Zemeckis, director behind Oscar fare like Forrest Gump and Cast Away. It’s also his first live action directing job after a few years of animated features (like The Polar Express).
What will you remember?
The will-he won’t-he go for the bottle scenes… Some might argue Washington could play this sort of character in his sleep, but it’s still a very strong performance and worthy of that Oscar nomination he received.
What’s the best scene?
The few minutes before the crash, seeing how calm Whip stays whilst absolute chaos erupts around him on the plane… the one hostess crawling around to try and help a boy back into his seat… while the plane is being flown upside down.
What’s the best line?
Charlie Anderson: Remember, if they ask you anything about your drinking, it's totally acceptable to say "I don't recall".
Whip: Hey, don't tell me how to lie about my drinking, okay? I know how to lie about my drinking. I've been lying about my drinking my whole life.
What other movies does it compare with?
Leaving Las Vegas, Training Day, United 93, Flightplan.
What piece of information can you impress your friends with?
When the audience is first introduced to John Goodman's character, he's listening to "Sympathy For The Devil." This song also appeared in the movie Fallen which also starred both him and Denzel Washington.
What type of …………………………… would this movie be?
Car: Any car… you’re going to want to drive rather than fly after seeing this.
Animal: A dog adopted from an animal shelter… you just never know how much it’s been hurt in life…
Kid at school: The one who keeps on lying to himself and everyone knows.
Toy: Something you’re trying to figure out how to assemble or use, but you’re refusing to read the instruction manual.
Famous person: Bill Clinton… widely respected when he was in power, but having to fight his own demons.
What did others have to say?
Denzel Washington is one of the most sympathetic and rock-solid of actors, and it's effective here how his performance never goes over the top but instead is grounded on obsessive control. There are many scenes inviting emotional displays. A lesser actor might have wanted to act them out.
A welcome return to live-action filmmaking for Zemeckis, who hasn’t lost his knack for a brilliant shot or for extracting great performances. It may not exactly be a first-class experience throughout, but there’s nothing wrong with premium economy.
You might bitch that Flight levels off after its shocking, soaring start. But you'd be missing the point of an exceptional entertainment that Zemeckis shades into something quietly devastating – not an addiction drama, but the deeper spectacle of a man facing the truth about himself.