Creating an intriguing character, whether for a book or for film, it is not an easy task. Not only is that character’s background important, but also their choice of style, their mannerisms, and their ability to deliver lines that seem natural and fluid to whom the audience seems to be. Creating a believable character… that is a different and unknown ingredient that the actor or author brings forth. Denzel Washington is known for constantly delivering remarkable performance. Writer John Gatins (Coach Carter, Hardball, and Reel Steel) can be admired for his thoughtful and emotional works. Undoubtedly director Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future, Cast Away) has woven tales for his fans that capture a viewer into a different world. All thee of these talented men have teamed up in what should have been an engaging film, but Flight does not make the grade to the actual believing and empathizing with the protagonist.
The plot of the film is rather extreme, but an interesting look at how humans face their inner demons. Airplane pilot, and formal Navy Seal pilot, Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington)is going about his usual routine before his flight. While most pilots would consider “usual” to be getting dressed, drinking coffee, and heading to the airport, Whitaker’s routine consists of snorting cocaine and drinking multiple bottles of beer and liquor. The flight is going according to plan until something goes horribly wrong mid-flight. Whitaker makes some bold flight decisions and is able to land the plane (cautiously crash) in a field. He wakes up in the hospital to find out that not only is the crash making international news, but also the pilot– for not the best reasons. As the crash investigation ensues, more and more incriminating evidence comes out about Whitaker, making it harder and harder for him to cope with the events unfolding.
For the record, all of the acting is phenomenal. From Denzel Washington to supporting actress Kelly Reilly as Whitaker’s love interest (and former cocaine addict) named Nicole. Even John Goodman’s two-scene-part has impactful, humorous, and dark in all the right ways. You can truly tell that every person in this film is committed to their roles. However, something about the situations placed upon the characters and the manners in which they react to things certainly makes it hard to empathize with them. There are multiple instances where I just wanted to yell at the screen to Whitaker so he wouldn’t be so stupid. It is an all around well-presented story, although it does drag on for a bit once the adrenaline from the actual flight scene wears off. It is a little over two hours long, but it feels like three.
Flight is rated R for drug and alcohol abuse, language, sexuality/nudity and an intense action sequence. There is female full frontal nudity and strong drug use in this film, so I would really not recommend it to anyone under the age 17 limit. If you are a true Denzel fan, this is a movie you wouldn’t want to miss, just for his performance alone.
I give Flight three and a half out of five bottles of vodka. While this movie certainly packs a punch in the acting department, due to the lack of connectivity with its viewers, it does not ever seem to get off the ground.