1 February 2013 4:16 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Denzel Washington's natural gravitas seems all the more fascinating when tainted by sins and secrets in this tale of a functioning-alcoholic pilot

As Lloyd Bridges says in Airplane!: "Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit drinking!" – a declaration he later famously modifies to take in smoking, sniffing glue and doing amphetamines. Before seeing this, I had thought that, between them, and from different directions, Airplane! and the real-time 9/11 drama United 93 had more or less finished off the aeroplane disaster movie. But this flawed yet enjoyable film from screenwriter John Gatins and director Robert Zemeckis proves that it can still be kept airborne, with a little re-invention.

Flight looks very much like a fictionalised true story, based on some New York Times bestseller. Actually, it isn't. Gatins has built his film around a single extraordinary detail that emerged from a real-life Us air disaster in 2000: »

- Peter Bradshaw

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