Thursday, January 31, 2013

Denzel Washington is a very solid, reliable actor. He hasn't made many great films but he manages to lift what is pedestrian to make it better. Flight is Robert Zemeckis's new film starring Washington as drink and drug addicted airline captain, the wonderfully named Whip Whitaker, who is involved in a serious plane crash and questions begin to be asked about whether he was to blame for the plane's malfunction and crash. It is a fairly simple conceit and it often feels like a made for TV movie, one of those ones on in the afternoon on Channel 5. But Flight is lifted (pardon the pun) by Washington's empathetic performance as Whitaker. He is playing against type a little here, snorting coke and partying with airline stewardesses, but he is credible as the damaged protagonist who just can't help himself. English actress Kelly Reilly (Sherlock Holmes, Above Suspicion) offers decent support as former drug addict Nicole, who falls for him and tries to redeem Whitaker. Flight is a film about redemption and thanks to some sterling work from supporting actors Bruce Greenwood as Whitaker's union rep Charlie Anderson and Don Cheadle as lawyer Hugh Lang, it lends it an extra air of credibility and gravity. But it is Washington's vehicle. Without him, it would have been released without any fanfare and a swift release on Blu-ray would have been its fate. All credit to Zemeckis too: he holds it all together, the crash itself is very well-directed and even though it is all rather telegraphed and obvious, you do enjoy the journey. It isn't a great film but Flight is a decent film with a very impressive central performance. Worth checking out…

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