Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 77% (Critics) / 78% (Audience)
Directed By: Robert Zemeckis
Written By: John Gatins
Starring: Denzel Washington, Don Cheadle, Kelly Reilly, John Goodman and Bruce Greenwood
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Synopsis: In this action-packed mystery thriller, Academy Award winner, Denzel Washington stars as Whip Whitaker, a seasoned airline pilot, who miraculously crash lands his plane after a mid-air catastrophe, saving nearly every soul 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?
The crash sequences were amazingly shot. Robert Zemeckis deserves many kudos for putting together one of the most thrilling action scenes of the year in what is pretty much a straight-forward, old school drama.
The other positives from this film were the performances of Denzel Washington and John Goodman. Goodman was only in a handful of scenes but every time he was onscreen he completely owned the scene. Washington, who was in almost every scene, pulls out a very non-Denzel performance and fearlessly dives into the murky depths of an addicts soul. He didn’t flinch at the alarming unlike ability of the character and in my estimation gave one of the top 3 performances of his career.
But damn was the character of Whip Whitaker just awful. There came a point where I just wanted the guy to overdose and put himself and the audience out of our collective misery.
Also Kelly Reilly’s addict/photographer character seemed totally unnecessary to me and didn’t seem to fit in the movie other than to give Washington’s character et another person to abuse and disappoint.
The last-minute, and all to cornball, moment of redemption did not feel true to the story that had been told up to that point or to the selfish character the audience had just spent 2 hours watching. I didn’t buy it and having everything wrapped up in a neat little bow like what Zemeckis and John Gatins gave us just seemed like a cop out.
Final Verdict: Flight is an uneven movie that seemed to run away from the bleak and dark conclusion it was careening toward in favor of becoming a shiny, happy redemption tale. That being said it featured top notch acting from all the people involved and a truly memorable action sequence that made it worth the price of admission. B-