Release Date: 21 February 2013
Running Time: 139 minutes
Distributor: United International Pictures (Paramount Pictures)
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Screenplay: John Gatins
Starring: Denzel Washington, Kelly Reilly, Bruce Greenwood, Don Cheadle, John Goodman, Melissa Leo
Plot: 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?
At its best, 'Flight' is only half-way there. The movie depicts the striggle of Captain Whip whose substance abuse remains a secret, having spend the previous night partying with a stwewardess. Next morning, he perfoms miracle by saving hundreds on board with a little piece of stunt when the airplane he is piloting experiences technical malfunctions. While he escapes the hot soup, he founds himself with a bigger scrutiny when investigation reveals he was intoxicated diring duty. Divided by moral issues, Whip will need tp coin the possible consequences for his actions.
Robert Zemeckis' return is not necessary a victory nor a defeat. If he wants to bring the argument themes of professionalisme and ethical issues on the table, his direction from a script by John Gatins does the job handsomely. Otherwise, the overall plot progression is not at all inspiring or moving, as I am hoping it to be. Several of the story arcs feel under-written and grounded. All in all, the plot is mixed at best. Let's elaborate more on this.
The first act is probably the strongest of all. Characters are introduced along the way as 'controversial' as possible. We see Washington's Whip parties so hard that he has to take a sniff before he pilots a plane. We also see Kelly Reily's Nicole juggles between financial and abuse problems that she looks like almost hits the bottom end. John Goodman enters the scene as badaas as possible only to be revealed as a drug dealer. Don Cheadle humps the doubts and disbeliefs right at the moment he is hired to represent Whip. All in all, one of the biggest asset for 'Flight' is to have strong characterization coming from strong performances, in particular Denzel Washington which gave anothwr pweformance in his life.
The crash scene occupies about 20 minutes of the movie and does a really impact to the movie with constant suspendable and edge on the seat, nail-biting moment. The effects are pretty beliveable and canvasses the scene so well. Plus with more great performance by Washington, the scene will remain as a standard pole bearer for such accident scene in the future.
Unfortunately, things go practically spiralling down onwards. The second act spends more time in discussing the relationship between Whip and Nicole which never takes off convincingly, the substance abuse issue which is not a gem story arc at all, and the related issues like family matters or professional scrutiny that feels overwhelmingly familiar. Matter gets wasted when all the build-up towards the final act or the crash investigation committee fails to result with a stronger note. The final act only commits a little emphasizing to merely punish the guilt and conscience of the main character when other necessary idsues highlighted in the build-up are put aside. If you are expecring a courtroom style of interogation, you will definitely be disappointed.
In the end, 'Flight' hits on the cinematic dilemma and conflicting issues with the self-centre and highly focused on building reliable characters; but it fails to push the core of the story for more that leaves a hollow satisfaction for a thrilling ending.