Writer: Dzamira Dzafri
Overall: 3.5 Out of 5
Cast: 4.0 Out of 5
Plot: 3.0 Out of 5
Effects: 4.0 Out of 5
Cinematography: 3.0 Out of 5
Watch this if you liked: “The Ides Of March” and “Man On Fire”
Denzel Washington's choices in films are not how you would say 'versatile'. However, in his pick with the movie "Flight" could probably be slightly different, even though it is, in reality, more of the same, which is an intense drama.
"Flight" can be called an intense drama, and there are many parts where you would clutch your seat from breaking nervous sweat during the course of the film. But with outstanding director Robert Zemeckis, who has directed some of the great cinematic masterpieces to date like "Forrest Gump" and "Back To The Future", the film wasn't hard to watch at all. Yes, of course it would make you feel uneasy during some parts but it makes your experience watching the film highly enjoyable.
The reason that "Flight" does not receive as much attention as other films is understood, because selling a dramatic movie about the troubles of an alcoholic pilot might be difficult to skew, and the film might do better when it comes to DVDs because it might be a living room film and not something to enjoy at a fun day out going to the cinema. It did receive a lot of Academy Awards praise but it is not good enough to receive a nod for Best Picture.
To be fair, the direction for the film was flaw-free, making the seemingly mediocre script into a visual art-form, and that deserves a good praise to Robert Zemeckis and it is rather surprising that he did not even get a nod for it at this year's Oscars. But with a good movie with not much flaw, it did miss a few factors that make a film an epic.
Denzel's performance was brilliant as the troubled pilot who manages to save a lot of people's lives in a malfunctioning airplane. From the start of the film you can already see how far deep he has gone with his drinking and the drugs. When his character starts to snort a few lines in the film you certainly hope that Zemeckis did not make Washington use real cocaine because his portrayal of a high and wasted individual convinces you to believing that he was intoxicated.
The scenes in the plane where over a hundred passengers almost plummet to their death and Whip Whitaker (Washington's character) just sits there like nothing is going wrong at all would make you so uneasy you could almost whimper and cover your eyes, but those scenes were exciting and fun (after you get over how intense it was) and for the sake of film appreciation, this film should be watched.
Though Denzel Washington's performance was brilliant, it is maybe kind of harsh to say this but this is what is expected of Denzel Washington now. The role was kind of generic with the troubled alcoholic and drug addict routine but because the whole film depended on the well-being of the character they needed a good actor to play this role and Denzel hit the nail on the head with this. He just wasn't as outstanding as we would have hoped.
Performance-wise, I say John Goodman and Don Cheadle deserve a good mention. Don Cheadle who had recently won a Golden Globe for Best Actor in his TV show "House Of Lies" played the role of Whip's lawyer really well with his cool and calm attitude and his lawyer skills that are so special, you would want to commit a crime just so he could clean the mess up for you. He is definitely one of the actors who can change their personality entirely for a role.
John Goodman played a very fun character of Whip's drug dealer. He brought his funny take to it and it went rather well with the film as you spend most of your time watching the film stressing out about Washington's character. Goodman brought some lighthearted-ness to it, albeit as someone who handles cocaine.
The other credible mention is James Badge Dale who plays an interesting role as a cancer patient in just one scene. The actor is a huge favourite from roles in television and soon in "Iron Man 3", so he is definitely an actor to look out for.
His one scene was so incredible you kept waiting for him to show up for more scenes but disappointingly, he does not. His role was to give both Whip and the audience a sense of appreciation for life, but it is not in the same boring 'pity the chemo patient' routine, he was snarky and rowdy and his persona was so refreshing to see being portrayed in a film.
You constantly worry about Whip Whitaker in the film, and the scenes where you do not know whether he was going to take a drink or not can almost drive you insane. True, that this film is called "Flight" and the main setting in the film is Whip Whitaker, the airplane crash and the legal aftermath but you should also be aware that this film could teach you about the horrifying consequences of alcohol and drugs and at times it may seem like an infomercial for rehabilitation.
It is very hard to judge this film, mainly because it left you feeling a bit strange and confused most of the time. Was it a film worth watching or was it not? It is not fun enough to be a mindless blockbuster film and it did not reach the heights of "Lincoln" drama-wise, but it should be watched nonetheless for that extraordinary plane scene, and some other scenes that would make you bring back emotions you can only use when watching intense dramas, like gasp in pain and sigh out loud.
Without revealing anything about the film, it would have been a better ending if they had just stopped at the fun part with John Goodman near the end and not the almost expected turn of events that actually happened. But that ending would not teach any addicts anything at all.
Cinema Online, 19 February 2013