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  • Kuriente14 July 2014
    I am an aircraft mechanic, so admittedly I have trouble watching a movie which will undoubtedly abuse reality in terms of physics and aircraft design. I recall seeing previews for this and being stunned at the laughable scenario of an inverted passenger plane. That experience dropped my expectation to essentially zero.

    When I watched this film I was surprised in two ways. Firstly, the scenario was more plausible than I had given it credit. Inverted flight is a problem for most planes because of aerodynamics. And while some aircraft are aerodynamically capable of inverted flight (even some passenger planes) it is additionally a problem because hydraulic and engine oil systems are often gravity fed. This means that if a plane is able to fly this way, most of them won't fly for long before systems begin to fail. The film did a reasonable job of portraying this as the plane was just barely able to sustain level flight with a full pitch down elevator position and displayed low engine oil press warnings which led to engine fire. I suspect the roll maneuver would require more altitude than the film suggests...but otherwise it's not far from what could happen in reality if this was actually attempted. Most engine fire T-handles are designed to instantly shut fuel and bleed air valves for an engine...which doesn't seem to happen here, but that was my biggest realism gripe.

    My second surprise is that this movie has very little to do with aviation. Aviation seems to be the setting for the story, but the subject itself is substance abuse. The story could have just as easily been set around a bus driver or a ship captain. Given the fact that aviation was merely a setting for the story I have to give credit to the film makers for paying at least some attention to realism.

    I thought the story was fascinating. It's the sort of film that requires something of the viewer. You can't watch this without making moral judgements and that process requires each viewer to evaluate how they feel about certain subjects. The story creates just enough moral dilemma to get people thinking and any story that can succeed in that gets a pass from me.
  • jlthornb5117 April 2015
    Washington gives what is nothing less than a performance of a lifetime in this tension filled film dealing with a pilot wrestling with inner demons. The aviation sequences are stunning and the crash one of the most breathtaking ever filmed. The director is highly gifted and his skill and passion are clearly evident. The script is superb, with intelligent plotting and sharp dialog that captures reality. It is, once again, Washington who shines here above all else. His power as an actor is what truly gives this movies its fire. His portrayal of a substance abusing addict/alcoholic is painful to watch because of the humanity he brings to the part. It is a tremendous accomplishment and one of the finest studies of addiction ever filmed.
  • Trailers might lead you to believe this is a film about flying. Or about an amazing flying feat. But it is all about the lead character, Captain "Whip" Whitaker (Denzel Washington), a man who is a pilot and an alcoholic. The flying and a terrible crash provide background for the story of this man, who has struggled with his illness for years.

    In many ways the story is not that original. We have seen numerous stories about alcoholics and heard real-life testimonies of the behaviors that accompany alcoholism, and this film tracks with all of them.

    It is worth seeing for the brilliant portrayal of Captain Whitaker and the performances of the other actors in the film. Some parts are difficult to watch because the acting is so engaging.

    I also think the film raises some interesting questions that some viewers may not be willing to acknowledge. If one is an alcoholic, is the entire worth of that man nothing more than what his sickness drags him down to? Are we what we do? Can we rise above our neuroses or our worst behaviors? Often we see public figures condemned in media for indiscretions or harmful acts; is that, then, the measure of the man or woman?

    The film, even if judged solely for its dramatic content, is worth seeing.
  • Denzel Washington is William "Whip" Whitaker, an alcoholic pilot who, after a night of heavy drinking, remains drunk well into the morning he is to fly a plane into Georgia. When his flight goes into a sudden tail- spin, Whip manages to save all but six lives through his crash-landing. Whip is a hero until his toxicology report comes up positive for everything under the sun, leaving the airline, Whip's union, his friends, and Whip in a tailspin of their own.

    I have often thought that Denzel Washington is one of the finest actors to ever grace the silver screen, and he proves that assertion with a film that is assured to receive him a sixth Academy Award nomination. Here is a man broken beyond measure, stumbling through his lost life until unprecedented new stress is placed upon him. Not even the intervention of those he holds close can stop his self-destructive nature - or can it?

    Robert Zemeckis has been on a sturdy path with animated films recently, so it was with a bit of apprehension that I saw his most recent live- action offering since "Cast Away". But have no fear. The direction here is clean, crisp, and efficient as ever, producing a simple, but powerful script by John Gatins, chock-full of par-none supporting roles by the likes of John Goodman, Don Cheadle, and Bruce Greenwood.

    Undoubtedly the best part of the film - besides the wonderful cast - was the soundtrack. Joe Cocker, Bill Withers, and more are used expertly to mold into every emotion, sometimes emotional roller coaster, Whip experiences. Each song (some used more than once) slips seamlessly into the background and keeps the audience following more than the script.

    "Flight" is a powerful, dark, character study about a man who has fallen to his darkest depths, and finds out how to fall farther. It sees Denzel Washington in top form and Robert Zemeckis' triumphant return to the live screen.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Flight takes off with a pulse pounding opening that sets the tone for the movie. However, Flight is not an action movie but instead is an in-depth character study of an alcoholic. While the film itself is a good story and an interesting analysis of one man's addiction to alcohol, the real treasure of Flight is the superb performance from Denzel Washington.

    In Flight, Denzel Washington plays a pilot who must crash land a commercial airliner to save the passengers on board. This may seem like a hero story since Washington was successful in saving the lives of the majority of the passengers. However, the results in Washington's toxicology report showed that he had a large amount of alcohol and cocaine in his system. Suddenly, this turns into a criminal investigation and Washington is faced with the difficult decision of either accepting he has a problem with drugs and alcohol or spend the rest of his life in prison.

    Flight is a brilliant character study because throughout the movie you aren't quite sure whether you like Washington or not. The man is a hero but he cannot stop drinking which constantly puts himself and others in danger. The director of Flight, Robert Zemeckis (Cast Away, Forest Gump), successfully makes the audience care about a man that should go to prison. Even though Washington's character is constantly letting you down, you still find yourself rooting for him. A director that is able to accomplish that feeling within his audience is doing a great job at film making and character development.

    It is clear that Denzel Washington devoted himself to this character. Every move that Washington made was true and you believed every action his character was doing because Washington was so convincing. This film could have been very boring. After the first half an hour there isn't much action and the story drifts from a plane crash to Washington's struggles with alcohol. This could have been disappointing but instead, the performance of Washington is mesmerizing to the point where you are completely drawn into the film. The film didn't need to continue having as much action as the first part of the film (the plane crash) because watching the development of Washington's character was so interesting.

    Even though Washington steals the film, he is backed up with some very respectable supportive acting. Don Cheadle (Hotel Rwanda, Ocean's Eleven) plays Washington's attorney and delivers some powerful moments in the film. Although, no one would ever expect a poor performance from Cheadle. John Goodman (Argo, The Artist) plays the comic relief in Flight. Even though Goodman is only in the film for a short amount of time, he delivers some of the best scenes in the movie.

    Flight may not be as exciting as some of Denzel Washington's recent movies but it is definitely worth the money. The film is a very accurate portrayal of the struggles and despairs of being an alcoholic. With a fine director and an expert lead role along with many great supporting roles, Flight is a film that shouldn't be missed. The only minor problem with Flight is that it's a little lengthy when it doesn't need to be. Other than that, Flight is a very well made drama. A-
  • corrosion-221 October 2012
    Warning: Spoilers
    Flight will rank alongside The Lost Weekend, Leaving Las Vegas, etc as one of the classic films about alcoholism. It features, in my view, Denzel Washington's greatest performance to date. It is so easy to overplay a drunk but extremely difficult to get it right and Denzel is spot on and totally believable here as an alcoholic. Also, not many A list actors would play such an unsympathetic character.

    Perhaps the biggest surprise is Robert Zemeckis's decision to do what is basically a character study. However, as shown in his previous films what he brings to the table here is to ensure that as well as studying this flawed character, we have a thoroughly gripping and entertaining movie. In addition to Denzel's standout performance, all the other performances are great. John Goodman balances the drama with the right dose of humour. Go and see it, but not on board a flight!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Flight is the kind of movie that studio marketing departments seem to hate. Watching the trailer, it gives the feeling of a lighter film, dramatic, with some suspense. It does not, however, indicate that this is an incredibly dark film about the depths and perils of addiction. The trailer gives a completely different idea of what this movie is going to be about, but with Denzel Washington's "Whip" Whitaker doing cocaine about thirty seconds into the runtime, one can safely throw away any thoughts they may have had about it.

    Mr. Washington stars as Captain Whitaker, piloting a flight from Florida to Georgia; a relatively short flight, but when something goes wrong at 30,000 feet, the quick-thinking and talented Whip rolls the plane to pull it out of its dive and ends up crash-landing, saving the lives of all but six people on-board the plane. The namesake sequence of the film is probably its best, filled with amazing tension and some stellar effects.

    Washington absolutely shines in this role, and being an actor of immeasurable talent, there is no question why he is up for an Academy Award for best actor. His acting is the kind of amazing that doesn't even require words- near the end of the film, his performance is absolutely heartbreaking, and Denzel Washington wears it in his face. Sadly, the rest of the film (outside of scene-stealing performances from John Goodman and James Badge Dale) isn't really up to par. The film follows Whip's self-destructive alcoholism as he is caught up in an investigation into the cause of the plane crash; friends try to help him and are spurned, he is alienated from his family, and he finds fleeting comfort in strangers such as Nicole (Kelly Reilly).

    This is where the film runs into problems, however. It wastes far too much screen time developing Nicole's character only to drop her off the face of the Earth. She enters Whip's life as a common ally, someone battling her own demons and addictions, but she is seeking help. She then vanishes from it just as quickly. Her character isn't all that interesting to begin with, and the same can be said for most of the rest of the characters and the story in the film; they only serve as a backdrop, a mirror through which Whip's many, many demons are reflected.

    Flight is, unfortunately, a film without much of a sense of direction. Robert Zemeckis seems to be all over the place, pouring multitudes of attention into Nicole's character, the plane crash, and Whip battling his demons, and it never seems to make up its mind as to what it's about. The film never, for a moment, questions whether Whip is actually at fault for the plane crash, and in fact it was his actions that saved many lives. Maybe it is Washington's poise and gravitas in the scene, but it never feels like Whip isn't in control. True that he is drunk and on drugs, and has many serious, serious problems, but saving the lives of ninety-six people (himself included) wasn't one of them. So while the plane crash story is certainly interesting, there's never any doubt about exactly how it is going to play out.

    Flight could have been a better film if it had capitalized on the success of the tension it so well displayed early during the plane crash. Whip's story, his battles with his numerous demons- and ultimately, his freedom from them- are moving and wonderful to watch. If Zemeckis hadn't tried to shoehorn in this ridiculous investigation plot that never really merits any attention, it would have been that much better. Washington gives a five-star performance, but the rest of Flight lands at a dismal Three and a half out of Five Stars.

    Check out my profile for links to my other reviews!
  • Robert Zemeckis' latest film Flight starring Academy Award Winner Denzel Washington is not only thoroughly entertaining and terrifically structured, it encompasses a soul that Hollywood hasn't really delivered in quite some time. The film, that closed the New York Film Festival, is simply one of the best films of the year.

    Flight tells the story of Whip Whitaker, an airline pilot that saves a plane and nearly all its passengers from a certain death. When an investigation is carried out to look into the details of the crash, Whip's troubling lifestyle begins to surface. Writer John Latins creates a dynamic and an internal narrative confrontation for viewers to become immersed in a story full of mental struggle. It's a unique and very engaging story that stands as one of season's best efforts.

    Denzel Washington, and not to be taken lightly, is fully in the zone and portrays one of his finest screen moments in years. I haven't been this impressed with his abilities as an actor since The Hurricane (1999). He lands solidly in Whip, giving us his natural aggression, charisma, and flaws. Allowing us to travel with Whip on this journey, Mr. Washington proves once and for all, he is one of the great treasures of American cinema. Denzel gives an access root into the character for all intended purposes, a clear understanding of the inner resistance that will not only plague Whip, but the movie audience as well.

    The story doesn't seem like an obvious choice for Robert Zemeckis, who has excelled in genres that have provided masterpieces like Forrest Gump (1994) and Cast Away (2000). As the film provides a more dark and jagged approach in his directorial style, Zemeckis executes with precision. It's a satisfactory effort from the director who makes his return to live action after a long string of motion-capture efforts. Assisting Washington's bravura performance is Oscar-nominee Don Cheadle, who teamed up with Denzel in the 90's classic film, Devil in a Blue Dress (1995). As the wise-cracking lawyer, whose own moral values may be tested in exchange for corporate and criminal immunity, Cheadle is a relieved presence. In a comedic and near-brilliant performance, John Goodman steals Flight from every actor including Washington in his short, two-scene appearances. Goodman continues to show an effortless range, even in poor film choices, and a confidence that makes him one of the great character actors working today. It's a performance that Oscar should consider on multiple levels. In a heartbreaking turn, Kelly Reilly as the drug-addicted Nicole, provides an emotional epicenter and boundary that stands as one of Latins' great writing achievements. Reilly is simply marvelous.

    Continuing to beef up their acting resume, the great Bruce Greenwood shines while Brian Geraghty continues to prove he is one of Hollywood's best kept secrets.

    Composer Alan Silvestri orchestrates an outstanding score that is both melodic and soothing. Cinematographer Don Burgess, once-nominated for Forrest Gump, gives clean, fresh camera lenses look into a shockingly dirty and gritty story. Zemeckis' handle of the astounding opening scenes, especially the plane crash, is one of the best visual and nail- biting moments of the year. Its Zemeckis at his best!

    Flight is not only one of the best cinematic efforts of the New York Film Festival; it stands as a great surprise and entry into the 2012 Oscar season. Denzel Washington is completely Oscar-bound but the buck shouldn't stop there; a deserved consideration campaign should be given to John Goodman and Kelly Reilly along with screenwriter John Latins. Flight is a home-run!

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  • FLIGHT is a great film! In a day and age where almost all Hollywood movies try to thrill us with special effects and gore, FLIGHT 'soars' with extraordinary acting and a story that will change lives. I went not knowing really what to expect. A drama about a crashed airplane, right? Well this film is much much more. It is truth. Truth about life. Truth about addictions. Denzel Washington does an awesome, believable job as an alcoholic airplane captain, struggling with his addiction and accusations after the plane crash. John Goodman plays an interesting character and provides some laughs. Without giving too much away, I will say that if you like drama movies or Denzel, go see it. If you are, or know anyone who is struggling with an addiction of ANY KIND... go see it! It just might change your life. 9/10 A+
  • By now you know what the movie is about, so I won't rehash.

    What you have here is the anti-Sully Sullenberg. Denzel is incredible as the best pilot you don't want flying your plane, or do you????? Tough questions and tough decisions as Denzel deals with, or doesn't deal with, the aftermath. You pull for him every step of the way, but the problem is which way do you pull? The visuals are very good, gripping, scary. I felt like I was hit hard in the chest while watching the plane.

    Make sure the little kiddies stay home, but you need to see this movie. I hope the Academy hands Denzel the Oscar.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    As i sit here with a drink and with a talent i write this review. I understand where he says i choose to drink. It's a both an unconscious voice and an obvious choice. To be able to do something no one else can do, something that people are in awe over but we can't get it right-this movie encapsulates that feeling. I feel understood. When he said he hid his drinking from everyone, damn it thats me. When he found the hotel bar, let it go and came back to it-tbats all of us with a problem. Then the choice to go sober and go to jail, it all was epic. 10/10 movie.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    It is easy to appreciate the high praise for one of Denzel's finest performances, the wonderful cast, and the quality of the narrative and storyline over the course of most of the film. This script had great potential to produce an often compelling story, with fine characters and direction. (I'm ignoring the fact that in everyday reality, a pilot like Denzel's character would be impossible, since professional pilots are subjected to regular drug and alcohol tests.) But, alas, virtually all the reviews and reviewers are blind to the film's fatal flaw.

    What so terribly wrong here?? In nearly all action films and psychological dramas, the writers and director are offered several different--often competing--conclusions, the final "hook." I watched a film that deserved an 6/7 for its entire length, until the final 15 minutes, the scene where Denzel's character breaks down in a sudden fit of moral consternation in the official inquiry. At this point, the film suddenly is transformed from a serious drama into a sloppy, moralizing MELODRAMA. What a great loss. But Hollywood will out, destroying an intrinsically dark tale by providing a redemptive "happy ending" that is utterly incredible. Of course, 90% the audiences will love this, but it doesn't change the facts.

    Think: When Denzel's character's interrogator asks the big question in the hearing, the real alcoholic he's been in every scene becomes a utterly different person. He can easily avoid blaming the innocent stewardess, AND save himself, with one answer: "I don't know." And then repeating it, over and over. Exactly what a binge drinker would have done--except for Hollywood and HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of dollars at stake at the box office!! Concluding the film with the broken pilot preaching the gospel of AA while gratefully serving his prison term is like stepping into an entirely different fantasy, one without credible linkage. Speaking as a professional writer, no one who has read great novels and fiction critically can come to any other conclusion. But this qualifier regarding familiarity with supreme fictions will exempt the vast majority of readers who usually appear on this site.
  • Snoody18 February 2013
    Warning: Spoilers
    Flight is one of those movies where the trailer makes you feel like you know what you're in for, only to find out the movie has nothing to do with a plane crash or planes in general.

    Sure the plane does crash, and the premise of the film starts off with revolving around what actually happened with the plane. However, even the opening scene starts to fill you in on the main characters intentions and moral standing throughout the film. If it wasn't for Denzel playing Whip, his character would have gone nowhere, since by all accounts he is a very unlikeable guy. Denzel does bring some warmth and a friendly face to the uncomfortable crass moments of Whip. Finding out this screenplay sat around in Hollywood for awhile until Denzel sparked interest is not really a big surprise. Other than Denzel and a few moments of Goodman's always enjoyable on screen moments, this film is flat. It's about a drug/alcohol addict "hero" who never seems to really give us what we want as an audience (a moment to cheer for Whip).

    This film is a by-the-book redemption film, but done better by Johnny Depp in "Blow". The cast sort of just deflates around the script, and a lot of unnecessary "Jesus" moments which start to feel like a hidden agenda for the writers. The female lead, a recovering drug/porn star?/lost her way, is also very boring. She offers little to no real connection to the audience, only aiding in predictable "my life is now saved" pictures on Whips jail wall at the end of the film.

    The film itself is watchable, it's not a total failure in the technical aspect. There is a rise and fall and entertaining moments. But it is very boring, this is one to watch on Netflix when there is nothing else to do. I would really like to see Denzel in a much more compelling and interesting material. The guy is incredible, hence his nomination, but very obviously under utilized by this material.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Excellent character study about a troubled individual. As an airline captain myself, it is very difficult to sympathize with someone who would put his passengers in constant danger by being a chronic substance abuser.

    But, it is a very high credit to Denzel Washington to make you care regardless. His fearless performance is why Washington is one of the world's greatest actors! I am so very happy to see him take on a challenging part like this, after doing so many roles he could do in his sleep.

    Robert Zemeckis turns in his least Zemeckis-like film ever, getting out of the way and allowing the script and the actors to do their parts. The film gets seriously sidetracked with the two appearances from John Goodman, but Goodman has spent his career just popping up and giving goofball performances, so no surprise there.

    All in all, very good work on all counts, plus the ending works.

    ******** 8 Out of 10 Stars
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Imagine real-life hero pilot "Sulley" Sullenberger with a severe drug and alcohol problem and doing a few lines prior to taking controls in the cockpit, yet still managing to land his packed airplane with absolute precision on the Hudson River. Would he still be a hero? That's the dilemma of the new film, "Flight," which just hit theaters this week. This is a difficult movie to sit through. Yet it's tough to decide which is more gut-wrenching -- watching a doomed airliner packed full of passengers buckled down in a nosedive headed for near-certain death, or the central character played by Denzel Washington, whose personal life is just as out of control. While Washington's character nicknamed "Whip" manages to miraculously maneuver the aircraft towards a crash landing that undoubtedly saves lives, the captain comes under increasing scrutiny once the post-crash investigation begins. Conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the investigation begins to reveal some troubling revelations about Whip and his conduct. Every second of the pilot and crew's lives are scrutinized, which uncovers some ugly secrets about how Whip spends most of his free time. Most of the time his best friends are named Jim Beam and Jack Daniels, with a few lines of cocaine to add a little spice. The hero-addict dichotomy is a marvelous dramatic device which helps to sustain a longer-than-average 2.5 hour movie. The audience faces a real conflict here. We don't know whether to cheer for Whip to beat the rap and move on with his life (after all, he heroically saved lives), or be exposed as the fraud he is so the healing and recovery process can begin. Indeed, this film is not so much about the plane crash and aftermath as it is about addiction and realizing that one has a serious problem. While the crash scene is one of the most intense such moments ever recreated on film, the film's highest moments of drama actually occurs in hotel rooms and in front of refrigerators when Whip faces his toughest choice -- whether to drink or not. Most of the time, the bottle wins the war of the inner spirit, just as it tragically so often does with real life alcoholics. If there's any doubt about Denzel Washington being one of the finest actors of our generation, this should finally settle the issue. His is a resume filled with high moments -- his Academy Award winning over-the-top portrayal of a corrupt cop in "Training Day" perhaps being his best work. But this performance is every bit as strong for entirely different reasons. Washington shows great range in this film, flip-flopping between the boozing jet-setting playboy (played to perfection) and the sad and lonely loser that deep inside he know he has become. It's Washington when he's most vulnerable that carries this film. Just the right expression at the right time, a teardrop in a rare moment when he lets his guard down, or displaying a phony facade of going through the motions while being stoned and high on the inside -- these are the virtues that only a few actors working today could so successfully give to an audience. No doubt, Washington's role here will be remembered when Best Actor nominations come out for this year's Oscars. Robert Zemickis' direction is also near-perfect. This is often a dark and depressing movie, a sort of "Leaving Las Vegas" with an airline pilot in the central sympathetic role. Yet we never get too low, even watching a man hellbent on self-destruction. Zemickis, perhaps best known for his direction of "Forrest Gump," handles the material with great care, managing an excellent supporting cast -- led by two superb roles by Bruce Greenwood and Don Cheadle -- who serve to change the mood just when the film seems to become too dark. There are some scenes and story lines that I found unnecessary. Whip finds a romantic interest along the way, a fellow addict. I had a hard time buying the notion that a 20-year career airline pilot would find much in common with a very plain-looking heroin addict one step up from doing back alley tricks as someone to find comfort with . The girl simply lacks any appeal. To her credit, at least she's headed in the right direction in her recovery while Whip guzzles one beer after another. But I found her not only to be implausible partner but totally unnecessary to the story -- adding at least 30 minutes to a film that probably should have capped out at two hours. The film builds to a fulfilling climax that won't be revealed here. Some ends are tied up nicely, while others remain frayed. Which is all fine -- that's how real life works. In short, this is good film made much better by the wide range of talent displayed by one of Hollywood's finest actors. Denzel Washington's performance alone is reason enough to see the film.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This was the strangest movie I've seen in a while. The beginning is ?close to an hour? of some AMAZING flight crash sequence scenes. The rest of the movie is about a man's fight with alcohol and drug abuse. Get it on Netflix, watch the 1st hour, go to an AA meeting, come back and watch the last 15 minutes. You won't have missed a thing! The acting was good - but the story is advertised as being about a plane crash, when it's more about man's struggle against himself.

    The beginning scenes are supposed to depict a man with deep feelings for a stewardess - instead it looks like he's hired a hooker, so it doesn't quite jive later in the movie. More details on the reconstruction of the jet, show some of the simulator footage of what may have happened when other pilots tried to land, show NTSB reviewing the black box etc, would have kept it more in line with the advertised plot. The correct advertisement would be "An egotistical, self-centered, alcoholic, drug addict makes an amazing jet plane landing - see how he feels about that!"
  • Flight is the story of a commercial pilot Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington) who is able to land a defective plane with extraordinary skill, maneuvering it into an inverted position in order to slow the decent. We see this inverted flight captured in the trailer, but believe it or not this is not the most provocative element of this film. The story is so thought provoking that it will have you walking out of the theater questioning whether or not you could or would choose nobility over self-preservation. Most of what takes place behind the scenes looming like a predator waiting to strike is the blame game, with Whip continuously asserting that no one could have landed that plane except him. That point is supported but it's the collateral damage of his arrogance that is at the forefront of determining liability. The trailer also lets the audience in on the fact that Whip is found to have alcohol in his system as is discussed with Hugh Lang (Don Cheadle) who is the attorney brought in to defend Whip on behalf of the Pilot's association. Hugh was very straight and very narrow, which was the case with most of the characters aside from Whip. It was the dichotomy of Whip's persona so brilliantly conveyed in his mannerisms, responses, and facial expressions that makes the performance Oscar, Golden Globe, BET, Trumpet, Image, MTV and any other awards worthy. If Mr. Washington had uttered eight bars I would say he deserves a Hip Hop award or a Grammy, he was that convincing. I recognized this person that Mr. Washington portrayed so true to life, which is not just a testament to good writing, but mostly to the phenomenal acting talent that is Denzel. All the characteristics that made this individual a hero were the same characteristics that could potentially make him infamous. I will say that I as well as many fans am always open to greater insight into who Denzel is, however the rear view was totally unnecessary. The film does a great job of telling a story about the human condition, nobody is one dimensional and sometimes extreme circumstances make you write yourself a reality check. The question is when you cash that check will you be happy with the results. If you have any fear of flying this is not the movie for you. It will reinforce that fear and possibly cause you to swear off flying altogether. I give this film a green light.
  • ruthfreese28 November 2012
    Warning: Spoilers
    I am a commercial pilot by profession. This crash scene is based very loosely on an Alaska Airways plane that crashed in 2000. Don't get your hopes up: your relatives could not have survived this catastrophic equipment failure if they'd had Whip, fueled by 3 lines of cocaine, at the helm. The elevator jammed "full nose down" causing a descent rate of over 13,000 fpm, not 4000 fpm as stated in the movie, (which is a normal rate of descent for a jet). Other pilots flying by relayed to air traffic control that they saw this plane inverted, and in a steep nose down dive.

    Let's say for the sake of the argument that the pilots had managed to slow the plane down with spoilers, gear, and flaps, like Whip did, and then flipped it on its back:

    Realistically, the plane would have slowed from 13,000 fpm to 12,000 fpm and when flipped on its back the stress would have ripped off the tail.

    Assuming somehow that the pilots flipping the plane upside down had managed to level it off, the instant they turned it rightside up, the plane would have nosed down and crashed. This lovely controlled glide onto a field would never have happened. Oh, and also, when a plane goes on its back THE ENGINES DO NOT CATCH ON FIRE. The engines actually flame out due to fuel starvation due to the fuel inlets being at the bottom of the fuel tanks.

    After the crash scene, there are two hours of Whip being drunk while Nicole appears to have no problem remaining sober. There are also random people popping up praising Jesus.
  • All the way until the ending I was eating this up. "Flight" is a tense, character-driven drama about a heroic pilot who averts an epic disaster only to be caught in the crosshairs of a long, ugly investigation of his life. It presents a highly complex story, weaving themes of heroism vs. arrogance, good intentions vs. bad results, and bad intentions vs. good results. For 80% of the film, "Flight" is on par with the greatest character studies since "12 Angry Men". However, be prepared for a less than fitting ending, or at best an ending that was rushed so quickly that it leaves you wondering "did we miss an entire scene where the ghosts of Christmas past, present & future showed up?"

    That's the only negative I have, although it's a big one. For the rest of my review I'll focus on the positives. The biggest positive is, of course, Denzel Washington as pilot "Whip Whittaker". He certainly doesn't disappoint. The role is a challenging one: a man whose personal life is a disaster even though his professional life is spotless. His professional arrogance leads him to deny the failure of his personal life, and this is the conflict that makes the film riveting.

    Although this film is squarely about him, there were some peripheral characters who really added to the pot. British actress Kelly Reilley pulls of a convincing southern accent (though southern sticklers may spot it as more "Alabama" than "Georgia" haha) and more importantly gives us insight into the mind of a damaged person who is genuinely trying to better herself, unlike our hero who denies his faults. Another great character, though minimal, is John Goodman who shows up as a bizarre, surrealistic "fixer" and adds tremendous color and humor to the show. The attorney for Whip Whittaker is excellently played by Don Cheadle who balances slick legal professionalism with utter frustration at his client's self-sabotaging acts.

    Even the action scenes were incredibly done, using a full sized commercial jet cut into sections and hoisted up on a weird contraption that made it flip around for the cameras. This is a first class production from start to finish.

    It only falls shy of monumental because of its Zemeckisy ending, a trademark of many 80s directors like Spielberg and Ron Howard where everything has to be neatly tied up in a bundle with a moral ending, even if it seems out of left field considering the characters' personality. But that's just my opinion and the reason why I docked "Flight" a few points. You may find it perfect. Regardless I think everyone can agree that most of the film is phenomenal.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The film seems to be in as much denial as a raging alcoholic and its clearly trying to preach that drinking is bad. Yet the opening scene we have the Denzel Washington performing a flight maneuver the red baron would be proud of. The praise for his piloting skills comes up in the film as regular as an internet pop-up. Just so we never forget how good a pilot he is, even if drunk!

    But now here's the money shot he's a junkie and an alcoholic and he was higher than Ozzy Osbourne when saving the plane from crashing to the ground. But the message of the film is, drinking is bad, oh yes, drugs are worse because if you taking them while in control of a vehicle you might exhibited piloting skills Luke and Anakin Skywalker would be proud of.

    This is kind of strange message because I thought the reason drinking and taking drugs was made illegal while flying and driving is that it impairs your judgment and you are more likely to cause a crash. But in this film universe seems to be the other way round.

    Anyhow Denzel's character is bad for doing this, and the guilt for saving all those lives while higher than a space cadet is too much and he confesses. He then goes to jail but it's a Hollywood Jail where in fact he is happy now, since he confessed.

    What should have happen in the film is that his drinking and drugs caused the crashed and killed passengers. This is real life and the brutal reality of people in responsibility of vehicles or planes while intoxicated. But I guess this is not Hollywood enough.

    Did nobody in the film think it was weird logic? There's a terrible plane crash people die while a pilot is high on vodka and cocaine, yet the cause of the crash is 100% mechanical failure and it's the great piloting skill that prevents further death?

    This film sends a dangerous message, because it sends the message the only think Denzel's character did wrong was get caught. That his piloting skills were in no way impacted during the crash, this is a very bad message to send to young people. A very bad film.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I really wanted to like this movie but something besides the crash went terribly wrong. Of course Denzel is great, acting wasn't the problem, for the most part. To put it bluntly, the main disaster here was the director pulling punches, playing it safe. Remarkably, the supposed center piece of the movie, the crash, was actually completely irrelevant to the plot. Think about the setup, the pilot was not responsible for the crash and he saved the plane, for the most part, with very few deaths. The movie took great pains to make it clear how extraordinary this was, "everyone crashed the plane in simulations" etc. Well, did the pilot's alcoholism help this or hurt this performance? Simple question but this apparently had nothing to do with the moral point of the movie, so somehow his miracle flying and his alcoholism were never considered as related. There could have been many different solutions. E.G. perhaps the pilot missed something obvious in his walk around, so he both "caused" the crash and saved the plane, would have preserved the main arc of the story, kept the crash at the center of the movie but legitimately brought in the alcoholism. And the ending simply sucked, in prison, now wiser and honest........sigh, boring, as was the reconciliation with his son, feel good American tripe ending, double sigh.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I watched the movie as I read here on IMDb that "An airline pilot saves a flight from crashing, but an investigation into the malfunctions reveals something troubling." OK, I thought, good cast, Denzel usually doesn't let me down and waited for more than 100 mins to see if something would actually happen. But nothing... It turns out that the whole theme of the movie was just alcohol abuse. As a south European, I always have a hard time understanding whats the problem with alcohol abuse in the US, why people cant just enjoy a drink from time to time. On top of that, there are some hints of other drugs abuse, but it seems that for some reason the producers think that smoking isn't that bad after all (I'm a smoker so I can relate to that... LOL).

    That said, the movie is very well made, nice photography, nice scenes, good acting. But 130 something minutes to get to the conclusion that alcohol is bad... well I wouldn't have watched it if only I knew. Pity for the misleading description of the movie.

    As for the rest, some characters don't seem to really have a real impact on the story or the main character. They are just there probably to give a little flavour to an otherwise pointless movie.

    So I give it a 4 as it doesn't deserve less in my opinion; the packaging is very well made. But I really do not see the point of crafting such a huge context just to express this kind of message. The guy could have been a taxi driver. For the sake of clarity, in my scale 4 is crap with some merits, but not to be suggested to anyone.
  • I had high hopes for Flight, no pun intended. It looked solid. Denzel Washington as a heroic pilot who may have other, deeper issues? Sounded good to me. Sounded almost like Oscar bait, even. But it's not. It's about fifteen minutes of awesome (at the beginning) and ten minutes of solid sweetness (at the end) and them more than an hour of crap. Washington tries hard (sometimes way too hard), but his character is so incredibly unlikeable that when the expected epiphany occurs I didn't feel empathy toward him, I felt relief that it was finally, blissfully over.

    Washington is Whip Whitaker, an experienced airline pilot. Flying out of Atlanta, he encounters some severe weather but manages to thread a needle through the clouds to clear skies. Problem averted until about half an hour later, when the plane begins to fall apart. Whip pulls off an interesting, unfathomable maneuver, flying the plane upside down for a short time to arrest an extremely steep descent. The plane crashes, and nearly everyone survives. But there's more to the story - had Whitaker been drinking prior to flying?

    Yes, it's a FWI (flying while intoxicated) movie, and suddenly it's not about the awesome crash but rather the character of one Captain Whitaker. It's about his fall, rise, fall, fall, fall, fall, rise?, fall, and so on from grace, with the help of a lawyer (Don Cheadle), his best friend (John Goodman), an ex-junkie (Kelly Reilly), and a union rep (Bruce Greenwood). Will Whip rise to the occasion, or will he sink further into decline, hastening his own demise? There's a hearing coming up with the NTSB. Will Whip give it all he's got, and then some, for the sake of his own life, those of his kid and ex-wife, and those of the wreck's survivors? A little while into the movie, you realize these questions are not only moot, they're boring.

    Whitaker is a jerk. He's a charmer, sure, but essentially he's a selfish jerk who rebuffs everyone's attempts to help them (even if they're cynically doing so to save their own careers), until...well, you probably know until when, because the movie follows the blueprint of every down-in-the-bottom-and-then-redeemed story to date.

    If you enjoy watching Denzel Washington in any movie, this is your movie - because it's any movie, you see. If you enjoy seeing Denzel Washington mumble like a person who's learned that people mumble when they're drunk, this is also your movie. He doesn't act so much as pretend to be a character, and here he thinks that character is Denzel Washington, Drunk Guy. He stumbles, he mumbles, he mutters, he stutters, and that's about it.

    In most of Washington's movies, he's the one carrying the film. Here, he's surrounded by a very capable cast, and they prop him up like a cigar-store Indian. Cheadle and Greenwood have great scenes together, Reilly is a wonderful find (I didn't realize she was British - excellent southern US accent), and Goodman not only steals his scenes, it's almost as if he's acting in an entirely different movie altogether.

    I wouldn't recommend Flight. Despite previews that almost make it seem like an action movie, or at least a psychological drama, it's neither of them. It's a standard-issue hard-luck story, but by the end you might not care whether the main character overcomes his obstacles or not, and that's a death knell for movies like this.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This is hands down one of the worst movies ever, the only good part was in the trailer, the rest is just one long painfully dull story about a pilot that can't admit he has a problem with alcohol and the people that care about him trying to get him to see it. Don't waste your time on this one. It was a huge disappointment, lots of nudity but to no purpose to the story, what little story there is. I usually love Denzel Washington and his movies, his acting was good but it was the story or lack thereof that made this so bad. It's a long movie, 2 hours and 18 min of boring. The AA groups will like the promotion, but really who wants to watch some guy coming to grips with his addiction so slowly and stupidly, sigh truly bad.
  • zmetalhead24 November 2012
    Warning: Spoilers
    This movie was ridiculous, where do I begin? Well in the beginning of the movie all you see is a half naked woman on the screen, instead of a powerful introduction to make the plot stronger.

    That was the biggest problem with the movie. There wasn't a strong enough story to make it a drama. I didn't cry once. I farted instead. I love Danzel Washington, but the movies plot was horrible. I did not even feel any sympathy for the main character who was a drunk cocaine addict that was a pilot.

    The plane crash was barely 20 minutes and the entire movie was mostly revolved around a prostitute no one gave a sh*t about and drugs. I felt like I was watching intervention 5 times.

    Where was the drama? I thought the movie would have a deep past for Danzel Washington's character but it didn't give enough to satisfy me. All it was in the movie was the crash and him doing cocaine and drinking.

    Yawn. I don't get why the co-pilot's wife in the movie was an annoying religious woman who's only line was "praise Jesus!" How freaking annoying. Go to hell!

    This movie shouldn't even have a good rating it was a let down.
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