Flight (2012)

Posted by Maria Mills | Posted on 3:06 PM | Posted in

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Movie Review written by: Born Movie Reviews
RT Critics Rating: 7.7/10

Born Movie Reviews' Rating: 8/10

FLIGHT (2012) - Robert Zemeckis

Before I begin, this is a deceptive title from notable filmmaker Robert Zemeckis. If you are walking into the theater expecting a movie about a plane crash, you will partially get it here. This film is built on the foundation of the crash, but it is not actually about the flight itself. Instead, it is a compelling character study, a unique film from Zemeckis and a refreshing performance from Denzel Washington.

Flight revolves around alcoholic Airline captain "Whip" Whitaker (Denzel Washington), who miraculously crash-lands a plane, saving 96 out of 102 passengers. After the crash, Whip is hailed as a hero. However, as the investigation of the malfunction unfolds, troubling facts related to Whips alcoholism begin to rise as we start to question what was really at fault.

The film begins with a bang, the most intense first act I have recently seen from a movie. Whether it is the strong turbulence or the official nosedive, the malfunction of the airplane is the most breathtaking moment in the film's first act, even when the scene itself is considered to be rather short. It is short yet powerful, and despite the fact that it only takes up a third of the entire movie, it is a clever plot device that drives the final act at the end of the movie.

After the intense plane crash, Flight begins to start taking its time and buildup on the negativities of Whip's addiction. From this point on, Flight is no longer Zemeckis' film. It is now Washington's film. This is the new Cast Away and Forrest Gump, but it is now Denzel Washington instead of Tom Hanks. In its second act, Flight builds a relationship between Whip and Nicole (Kelly Reilly), a young woman recovering from a heroin overdose. However, this is where the film's narrative begins circling around the runway.The second act dragged and lost grip for a significant amount of time. In trying to keep us interested, the movie explores Reilly's character, as well as introducing three new characters portrayed by Bruce Greenwood, Don Cheadle, and John Goodman, all well-performed. Remember Goodman from The Big Lebowski? Welcome back.

Flight is really a second-layered movie. It is a character study on Washington's character about the curse of addiction. When its third act begins to kick in, this is where Flight finally stops circling the runway and commits to a landing. The film begins to accelerate so quickly that the narrative feels just as intense as the turbulence seen earlier. The stage is then set, and it becomes the ultimate showcase that proves to us that Denzel Washington is still one of the greatest actors in Hollywood today. His classic delivery of emotions is what forces countless amounts of emotions into our hearts and heads. He holds back his tears and chokes on his words. It is a "Washington" performance at its finest.

For years, Denzel Washington has been slightly misused by the movie industry. He has been playing the same type of character for countless films, just like Robert de Niro and even Jack Nicholson today. Three times, Washington played the same personality in a Tony Scott film -- the three films are Déjà VuThe Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, and Unstoppable, despite the third film being great. What happened to the Washington we loved from Glory and Training Day? We want him back. Well, give your thanks to Robert Zemeckis, because he has brought the true Denzel Washington back.  To agree with the New Yorker, we are finally given an actor who can "show us the truth of something that may be far from [his life] but somehow [understands], intimately, all too well." For the fact that Washington was strong enough to break his chains and come forth as an original and compelling character, it is one of the most refreshing performances of this year, possibly worth an Academy Award nomination.

In conclusion, Flight is a magnetizing piece of filmmaking. After the plane crashes, the story and acting is just about to take flight, and once it does, boy does Denzel Washington soar. You may not like Captain Whip as an addict, but he is nonetheless a provocative character to study as the narrative progresses. Follow Zemeckis' directing, and the film might grab you where you least expect it. Undoubtedly, Flight is a shoo-in straightforward film about not just addiction, but also about redemption. It is indeed a triumphant return by Robert Zemeckis, and it is definitely a chance for Denzel Washington to take flight once again.

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