I know it might seem like old news for most people , but here in the UK some films take forever to premiere. Therefore Robert Zemeckis’ newest baby had to wait until February for us to see it. In fact, fellow movie watchers across the pond can now see “Flight” on DVD and Blu Ray whereas in here it would look, as if this film experienced some sort of turbulence on its way to The Isles. I should be glad however that it didn’t take as long as it is to bring “Cloud Atlas” over. I know it’s a pretty secluded corner of the earth out here with no connection to the outside world, tropical storms, cannibals and other nonsense, but there has to be a way to prevent these travesties from happening. So, if by some weird coincidence, anyone responsible for films like “Flight” or “Cloud Atlas” taking f-o-r-e-v-e-r to reach the Shakespeareland is actually reading this – please, be a lamb and make sure it does. Not. Happen. Again. Ever.
Even though what I’m about to do might come across as pointless, for the benefit of all of us who have just been given a chance to acquaint ourselves with what I believe is the best acting performance of the last year (yes, I know… “Lincoln” and such…) I shall give my little review on “Flight”.
Story-wise, “Flight” is a well-scripted redemption story of a commercial airliner pilot William “Whip” Whitaker (Denzel Washington) whose life didn’t turn out the way he wished. He is addicted to alcohol and cocaine, but he refuses to admit it, his wife had left him and his teenage son not only doesn’t know him, but does not want to have anything to do with him at all. However, the one thing Whip knows backwards and forwards is how to fly and strangely enough that unique trait of his gives him an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take a look at his life and make the right decision for once.
The opportunity came in a form of a technical fault during a short-distance flight where the plane all of a sudden went into a full blown nosedive heading for an inevitable disaster. Whip however kept his cool and through titanic effort and masterclass skill he managed to turn the rendezvous with death into a rough emergency landing that saved almost everyone on board. Being pronounced a hero and forced into the media spotlight turned out to be the much needed catalyst for him to face his vices and put up a fight against his own inner demons.
As I stated before, “Flight” doesn’t break new ground in terms of storytelling. We’ve seen this a thousand times and we’ll definitely see it a thousand times more. What separates this film from the rest is how Denzel Washington took the character and made it his own. I mean, he is always a delight to watch regardless of the genre and he doesn’t seem to be aging at all, but it is his effort what makes “Flight” such a good movie after all. His perfect execution and complex depiction of this deeply disturbed individual is just phenomenal. He is the star of the film, but he somehow managed not to overshadow the rest of the cast (which is sadly the case for “Lincoln”). I think this very professional way Washington drove his character is responsible for the fluidity of the story. I wasn’t just waiting for him to enter the frame, but simply wanted to follow the story. I managed to make a connection with Whip, which to me is indicative of a job well done.
All in all, I was glad I saw “Flight”. Even though I was aware from the get-go of the sinusoidal approach of rise-fall-rise-again this film was going to take, the outstanding execution and subtle touch combined with a parade of awesomeness in the acting department kept me bolted to my seat. I enjoyed it a lot and I think I will be secretly rooting for Denzel Washington to get the gong at this year’s Oscars. He sure deserves it, maybe not more than Daniel Day-Lewis, but at least just as much.