Denzel Washington, a man of many faces, many talents, and many great roles. From football coach to psychopathic father, the man seems to be able to tackle any role and make it come to life. So I feel that fans other fellow fans of this actor were ecstatic to see his latest movie come out this weekend. The premise of this movie focuses on a pilot by the name of William Whip Whitaker who becomes a hero after saving the lives of countless passengers on a crashing plane. Despite his heroic efforts though, his blood work reveals he was intoxicated, which could lead him to life in prison if convicted of flying under the influence. What will be the outcome?
I’ll admit I had my skepticisms about this movie, especially the 2 hour and 15 minute time tag placed on it. In my mind I couldn’t see how they could keep this case interesting for that long of a time period. However, the boys directing this movie took a different approach to entertain the audience, than an aviation version of Unstoppable. Instead the film is more a message bringing movie, one that has the potential to inspire or offend in so many ways. Unlike other case drama films, Flight immediately tells you Washington is guilty of intoxicated flying, and has some issues to deal with. Rather than working to uncover the truth of the case, this film works to see if Whip can run from his mistakes, all while continuing to binge on his guilty pleasures. Thus, one can imagine there isn’t much excitement or on the seat moments in this film. That doesn’t mean there isn’t some emotional stimulation in this movie though. Washington once again brings a realistic edge to the character, portraying the sleaze ball Whip to a rather gruesome detail. Countless points in the movie you start to judge and despise his character, as he throws himself further down the rabbit hole. Yet at the same time, the various elements of the movie help you feel sorry for the character and somehow bring you into the mindset of someone trying to overcome his challenges. If you’re looking for a film to help place you in someone’s mindset, well then Flight is for you.
Washington wasn’t the only thing to help bring this tale to life. I’ll say now that the casting director should get a pat on the back for who they cast in this film. Although Washington took most of the screen time, each supporting actor had just enough screen time and importance to continue driving the tale in different directions, helping Whip uncover more of his self. Kelly Reillydid a nice job playing a fellow addict who was going through her own problems and being Whip’s crush, adding some well-timed drama to the mix. John Goodman’sacting also was well appreciated, as the big man managed to relieve the tension with his well delivered comedic lines. However the man to really help drive Denzel’s character was Don Cheadle, playing the lawyer assigned to Whip’s case. Cheadle’s calm demeanor, and ability to act rational were perfect attributes to make the lawyer come to life. Overall, these actors are blended together in just the right amount to keep the story and laughs coming.
Other than acting though, what else does this movie have to offer? For me it’s again worthy to talk about the editing work in both sound and visuals. Flight’s camera work wowed me as the crew found ways to capture the emotions of the scene. Whether it was a close up of the artificial red eyes, or a wide angle shot showing off the beautiful scenery of the movie, the camera was situated just right to capture all the details. I was especially impressed with the chaotic flight scene, which for once wasn’t overdone in a cacophony of howling wind, explosive sound effects, and a fury of string instruments. The crew instead kept things balanced, calm, and easy to follow, while still managing to make one sit on the edge of their seat as they wonder who will make it out of this dire situation. Along with these visuals was again a well selected soundtrack to help add a little more depth to the scene. Some tracks were used to help add a sad tone to the movie, which had other audience members tearing up, while other songs were merely in the background to I guess be a stereotype to alcohol humor. Regardless, the editing is well done to make a drama like this more realistic and for me enjoyable.
However, with realism comes responsibility and this movie may push the limits for some audience members. Although rather enjoyable and clever, some of the dialog will offend certain audience groups and perhaps take away something from the movie. Those who are easily insulted by religion dialogues, may not enjoy the constantly used line of, “It was an act of God,” that seemed to be used as an excuse for every incident to befall man. Those who may be sensitive to alcohol situations may also need to desensitize themselves as well, as the realistic portrayal may strike close to home to again be offensive with their stereotypical visuals. Some of the dialogue, laced with some nice cursing, also may cross the line to make you very angry and distracted. Other than offensive stereotypes though, there are some other weaknesses to this movie. The pace of the movie is also slow and the long time tag on the movie might not have been the best decision to make. Editing could have tightened some things up.
Flight has a good message, great acting, and some fantastic acting, but I can’t say it is one of my favorite movies this fall. So those looking for a good drama take up this movie, but for most I say rent in on Netflix for a rainy afternoon.