Director and producer Robert Zemeckis is a household name in Hollywood, bringing us the Back To The Future series, Forrest Gump and, more recently, Cast Away. Before working with Denzel Washington, Zemeckis dabbled in stop-motion and animation, receiving a lukewarm response, so let’s hope his new picture Flight stays airborne for longer.
Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington) is an experienced airline pilot who lives up to every stereotype one would expect from a highly-paid pilot: he sleeps with the air hostesses, takes cocaine and drinks excessively. The word “hedonistic” seems inadequate. Following an incident in which Whip manages to glide a faulty plane to the ground, saving hundreds of lives, he is labelled a hero. However, after further investigation into the crash, it is discovered that Whip might have some uncomfortable questions to answer.
Over the Christmas period, the expectation surrounding Flight was rather positive due to both Washington’s and Zemeckis’ acclaimed reputations in the industry. Washington has carried films successfully on his own before, notably The Book of Eli and John Q, but in Flight, his role demands a more caricatured, jokey character, which doesn’t really wash. The crash scene, arguably the most important scene of the film, is devoid of any tension or peril. In a scene where a plane full of passengers is hurtling towards the ground, the audience is left completely unperturbed, some even laughing.
However, with a supporting cast including the brilliant John Goodman in a brief cameo as Whip’s friend and drug dealer, Bruce Greenwood as Whip’s professional friend Charlie, and Don Cheadle, as Whip’s lawyer, the film manages to keep itself propped up. It’s a big film with an equally big soundtrack, dealing with big issues such as morality, alcoholism, and the legal framework in America. Flight isn’t quite up there with Denzel’s best, but still delivers as an entertaining popcorn flick.
Flight is released in cinemas nationwide on 1st February 2013.
Watch the trailer for Flight here: