• Movies
  • Drama
0 Love It
Denzel Washington in Flight

Few things are worse than being jolted awake by a plane dropping into an uncontrollable nosedive—especially if you’re hotshot airline pilot Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington) and have been sleeping off a vodka-and-cocaine bender in the cockpit at 33,000 feet. Whitaker pulls a last-minute WTF maneuver—turning the jet upside down to slow the descent—managing a crash-landing with minimal casualties. He’s declared a public hero. Yet it soon becomes apparent that, miracle move or not, Whitaker’s relationship with booze and blow goes beyond the occasional indulgence.

Filmmaker Robert Zemeckis has always had a knack for staging white-knuckle set pieces involving free-falling aircrafts—recall Jodie Foster’s harrowing hyperspace journey in Contact (1997) and the accident that kicks off Tom Hanks’s Crusoe-like odyssey in Cast Away (2000)—and the disaster that launches this drama is a doozy. (Expect fainting in the theater.) You’ll soon realize, however, that Flight is no more a film about flying than Shame was about sex; this is a story of the self-destructive lengths people will go to in order to salve their soul. Take out the opening jaw-dropper, and you’ve essentially got The Lost Weekend Redux. Despite Washington going the full nine yards ugly-drunk-wise, there’s little to distinguish this from every other entry in the cinema du addiction genre: You’ll get the requisite denial, hitting rock bottom and then rockier bottom, relapse and, finally, a moment of clarity. Even if you remove the questionable quasi-religious touches, Flight doesn’t quite soar past its narrative limitations. There’s plenty of virtuosity to go around here—just precious little transcendence.

Follow David Fear on Twitter: @davidlfear

Release details

Rated: R
Release date: Friday November 2 2012
Duration: 0 mins

Cast and crew

2 people listening