Starring: Denzel Washington, Bruce Greenwood, Don Cheadle
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Running Time: 138 mins
Flight is an American film about an experienced but troubled airline pilot who, after performing heroically in an unavoidable accident, becomes the centre of the investigation, with his innermost demons worsening a difficult situation.
This was a really interesting film. Although it may prove a little jarring at first, Flight is a well-written and well-acted drama, crafting a riveting and unpredictable story over the course of two engrossing hours, complete with unexpected degrees of dramatic depth and darkness that make it all absolutely enthralling from start to finish.
However, let’s start off with the film’s opening act, where we witness a shocking plane crash, portrayed with such impressive realism and tension that it’s impossible not to be truly terrified by it all. In that, director Robert Zemeckis crafts a striking and memorable starting point for the film as a whole, and each and every one of our pilot’s actions remains crystal clear in your head as a result – proving integral in the drama that unfolds later on.
It’s an intense opening act, but one that proves massively exciting and ultimately riveting nonetheless, grabbing your attention almost immediately, and keeping you engrossed for the remainder of the runtime.
From then on, the film completely switches gear, and becomes a much quieter, personal drama centring on the crisis that the pilot experiences, with the events during and after the crash only worsening hits troubled mind.
Now, while at first that transition from high-intensity thriller to personal drama is a little abrupt, it ultimately develops into a story that’s even more engrossing on its own, as you become torn between the ideas of right, moral deeds and what you think should be acclaim rather than suspicion, creating a fascinating emotional dilemma at the centre of the story that keeps you engrossed right to the end.
Denzel Washington is fantastic in the lead role, managing to portray a complex and severely damaged personality in brilliantly convincing fashion. What’s more is that his on-screen confidence works perfectly for the character’s blurry division between an experienced, worldly captain, and an arrogant and stubborn drunkard whose ego ends up jeopardising a major court case. As a result, he’s an enthralling and entertaining central presence throughout the film, and uses his performance to really keep you engrossed in his character’s drama throughout.
At first, I expected this film to be all about the fallout from a major plane crash, and while that is undoubtedly a significant part of the story, it’s that personal drama that develops through acts two and three after the striking opening that really hits home.
If I were to have an issue with this movie, it would be that some of its characters’ decisions or changes aren’t all that convincing based on how they’ve been built up beforehand, coming about in rather abrupt (and as such somewhat confusing) fashion.
However, Flight is overall a riveting, dramatically powerful and consistently impressive film, starting off with a striking and shocking opening act, but developing into an impressively intimate and deep personal drama, complete with a fantastic performance from Denzel Washington, which is why I’m giving it an 8.1 overall.