The first time the trailer for Flight for flight played I knew I would watch the film. The problem is since October the trailer has been played in the cinema at least once per week.
I will never dislike any trailer as much the one for Flight. It was so overplayed that I hated the sight of it by the time the film was released. In the end I saw Flight was because there were no other options.
PLOT: After a cocaine and alcohol laced evening Captain Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington) takes charge of a flight from Florida to Georgia. Midway through the flight the plane malfunctions and starts to nosedive. Whitaker manages to land the plane and save 96 of the 102 souls on board. Whitaker's heroic status is short lived when alcohol is found in his bloodstream and his personal life is called into question by the authorities. END PLOT
It is laughable that the preview I have been forced to sit through for four months is nothing like the final product. The plane crash and the investigation are heavily emphasised in the trailer but the film focuses more on Whitaker and his alcohol dependency.
I grew up with an alcoholic father (Irish cliché alert) so watching any film with alcoholism as a key theme always hits close to home. Whitaker’s genuine and unrelenting denial to his addiction was both amazing and hard to watch as it was 100% accurate. Daniel Day-Lewis will win the Oscar for his performance in Lincoln but everything about Washington's Whitaker felt real and it is a pity that he will get overlooked.
Washington is excellent and carries Flight with a character that deserves little sympathy for the vast majority of the film. Washington pulled off a wide array of emotions with ease from his arrogance at the start of the film, his eventual public breakdown and his contentment during the final scene. The closing exchange with his son was the first time that I felt any respect for Whitaker which was exactly how it was meant to be.
The reliable and underused Don Cheadle leads a capable supporting cast of John Goodman, Bruce Greenwood and Tamara Tunie. Kelly Reilly’s recovering addicting provided a decent love interest for Whitaker however there is an argument that she was too young for the role.
Flight is very much a performance based film but it did not shy away from creating one of the most horrifying set pieces I have ever sat through. The plane crash was tense and even though I knew the outcome it was a brilliantly stressful 15mins of cinematic action. It is only February but it will take something special to knock the plane crash off the top spot for action moment of 2013.
The tone of the film is mostly serious with John Goodman’s Harling providing the occasional giggle although Goodman is skirting along the border of overacting. There is a scene in a hotel room where Charlie (Bruce Greenwood), Hugh (Don Cheadle) and Harling (John Goodman) are trying to rouse Whitaker by giving him cocaine as a pick-me-up. The scene is full of dark humour which I absolutely love. The icing on the cake was that this scene cuts to the characters standing in a lift with a musac version of “With a Little Help From My Friends” playing in the background. It was a clever moment.
Flight does have some flaws as there is too much emphasis on the crash being an “act of god” which as an argument has as much credence as “shit happens” and perhaps the ending is a tad cheesy. Flight also boasts some unnecessary full frontal nudity. I am not prudish - I will quite contentedly watch naked people slashing each other to bloody bits if it is part of the story and not forced in just for the sake of it. It will take one hell of an argument to convince me that watching an attractive air stewardess take 10minutes to put on a thong is necessary…..
Despite my reluctance to see Flight Washington’s performance was enough to make me realise that skipping it would have been a big mistake. It gets an 8/10 and deserves more accolades than it will receive.