Film review: Flight (3 out of 5 stars)

Denzel Washington and Kelly Reilly in Flight.
Denzel Washington and Kelly Reilly in Flight.

It’s not often I go into a film expecting one story and end up experiencing a rather different one.

From the trailer I got the impression this was going to be about an airline pilot who has a drink before a flight but ends up saving virtually everyone when the plane crashes.

The resulting question is, was it his drinking that caused the crash or a problem with the plane?

I envisaged a tense courtroom type drama to round it all off.

While some of these aspects certainly drive the film forward, it’s mostly about one man’s attempt to claw his life back from drink and drugs.

That man (Whip Whitaker) is played by Denzel Washington who in my opinion is excellent in every role he chooses.

He certainly gives Flight the gravitas it needs, potraying a man in denial of his failures.

There are other solid performances from Don Cheadle as a lawyer and John Goodman as a drug dealer.

However, because Goodman is in top form, he does rather dominate the few scenes he’s in which confused me as to his role in the movie.

The same could be said for the part of Nicole (played by Kelly Reilly who, although English, comes up with a decent American accent).

She plays a drug addict who meets Whip in hospital.

Reilly gives it her best and it’s all very touching but doesn’t really add a great deal to a film that desperately needs more focus.

The ‘big moment’, of course is the plane crash.

Director Robert Zemeckis provided a pretty scary plane crash in Castaway (2000) with Tom Hanks and this one is just as dramatic.

However, although I’m no expert, the plane does seem to finally stop very quickly considering the forward momentum it has.

Overall, Flight is rather overlong (138 minutes) and has its faults, but provides yet another vehicle for Washington to show his superb acting talent.

Film details: Flight (15) 138mins

Director: Robert Zemeckis

Starring: Denzel Washington, Don Cheadle, John Goodman, Kelly Reilly.

Screening courtesy of Cineworld Crawley

Steve Payne