Friday, February 15, 2013


Within in the first few moments of his appearance in Robert Zemeckis' Flight, it's clear that "Whip" Whitaker (Denzel Washington) is a man who needs a fix constantly. He drinks, snorts cocaine, even huffs the emergency oxygen on the plane. It's an interesting establishing character sequence, but the film itself deteriorates quite quickly.

It's not long before the film essentially becomes a huge PSA for substance abuse. Yes, the fact he flew (and then crashed) an airplane under the influence is unforgivable, but did you really need to cram that fact down our throats? (Granted, it's the premise of the film, but still.) Subtly is not present at any point in this film.

There are also a number of elements of Flight that weren't really needed. For starters, was the Kelly Reilly character really necessary? She basically just shows up and leaves without doing anything significant. And the God motifs throughout? Ugh.

Now don't get me wrong. Washington is a very fine actor, but he really could have done better here. He has his moments but ultimately it becomes the typical "alcoholic trying to clean up his act" role we see every other year. (If you want to see a good example of that role from last year, go see Smashed.)

To say I was underwhelmed by Flight is an understatement. The script is bogged down with almost every cliche possible about this material, which is ultimately the film's downfall. (How the hell did it get nominated?) A few worthwhile scenes here and there but all in all, Flight is a film that needs improvements. Big time.

My Rating: ***1/2

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