Flight

Flight

Starring: Denzel Washington, Kelly Reilly, Don Cheadle, Bruce Greenwood, John Goodman

Director: Robert Zemeckis

Rating: 4/5

There has been a distressing lack of Denzel Washington on the big screen over the last twelve months but this week he is back.

The double Oscar winner has teamed up with filmmaker Robert Zemeckis, who is working on his first live action project since Cast Away.

Whip Whitaker is 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?

It is great to see Washington back on the big screen and he is simply terrific as Whip Whitaker - a hero who is severely flawed.

Yes he may be a man who is suffering from addiction and can be quite unpredictable and hostile but Washington plays him in a way where you still feel sympathy and empathy for this character.

In less capable hands Whip could have become someone that was difficult to connect with but Washington plays him in a way that is incredibly emotionally engaging.

Washington commands every scene that he is in and it is a towering performance from the double Oscar winners - particularly the drunken scenes as we get to see a very lost and vulnerable man.

Don Cheadle, John Goodman and Melissa Leo are some of the other immensely talented stars on this cast and while you could argue that all are desperately underused the movie does not suffer from it.

Flight is all about the Whip Whittaker and the downward spiral he is one - the other characters are merely just an interlude to the central story.

John Goodman provides some terrific comic relief - he may only appear in a couple of scenes but he delivers a performance that is very funny and one that you will not forget.

Kelly Reilly is also great as Nicole, a character who is also battling her own addiction demons. Nicole and Whip strike up an interesting relationship and it would have been nice to see that develop a little more.

It is hard to understand why Zemeckis has stayed away from live action films for so long - don’t get me wrong his animation work has been great - but it is this type of movie where he really excels as a director.

He has created a terrific crash sequence that looks simply fantastic. But it is a sequence that does not overstay its welcome - Flight is not a movie about a plane crash but the aftermath and Zemeckis doesn’t forget that.

Flight is an engaging story from start to finish about a man who is a hero but faces huge personal problems. This is not a movie that makes light of addiction but shows what a debilitating illness it is.

Washington tackles this issue with a real grace and understanding and while we see Whitaker fall this character finds two things; truth and himself.

Whitaker delivers another fantastic performance and the weight of this entire film really does fall on his shoulders - needless to say he pulls it off and creates a complex and interesting character in the process.

Flight is out now


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