Flight (2012) Poster

(I) (2012)

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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.
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Flight is an expert character study
Josh Cummings31 October 2012
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-
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An Emotional Tailspin
Bob_the_Hobo19 November 2012
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.
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Denzel's Showcase
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!
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Only soars on Denzel Washington's fantastic performance
theredraylives21 February 2013
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.

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Incredible Film
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.
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Flight brings Denzel back to greatness!
Clayton Davis16 October 2012
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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Duckface Denzel in A Confused and Boring Mess of a Film
matthewchermside2 March 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I normally only write a review when moved to do so because I love a film, or hate a film. Unfortunately for this film it was the latter case. This film was tedious, confused, boring and uninteresting. It didn't seem to know whether it wanted you to like or hate the protagonist, whether it was trying to be dramatic, funny and quirky or cool - far too many slow-mo scenes of Denzel Washington strolling around in shades looking cool after a drink and drug binge - and in the end it is none of those things. There's only so much you can watch of some guy drinking himself to death - although he doesn't seem to exhibit any physical problems, which is strange. This is no Leaving Las Vegas.

There doesn't seem to be much point to any of the films characters who are all one-dimensional to say the least. Even John Goodman's appearance couldn't save this one - his character looks and sounds ridiculous and this is the first time that I would say he simply was very unconvincing in a film. Similarly, Denzel Washington seems to spend most of the film playing drunk badly or pulling this strange 'duck face' that he has developed in recent years in the moments that are supposed to be awkward or emotional - it is a poor performance from one of my favourite actors.

Add to all of this some very odd and badly handled references to a more philosophical side of the situation with people constantly referring to 'God', trying to shoe-horn in some fate vs. free-will ramblings into an already messy film, left me very relieved when 'Flight' limped to a predictable conclusion. I would not recommend it, it is a poor, boring mess of a film.
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Awesome Film. Blew away my expectations!
Paul Budde4 November 2012
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+
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Can a man be both hero and criminal?
atlasmb4 September 2014
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.
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A good film corrupted by Hollywood greed,,,
e mcguire8 November 2012
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.
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Collander full of holes
harrogategd3 February 2013
Warning: Spoilers
OK this movie has its moments but sadly moments it is. If you have any understanding of flying then Hollywood immediately broke the laws of physics right in front of your face.The question in my mind while the plane was inverted was 'Well what now? , how do you save this because you can't land upside down and when you turn back over it will nosedive again . . but no when turned back over it glided!!?? So that was the heroic skillful pilot bit debunked at the start. So then we get to the drinking and drug problem. Clichéd enough said and John Goodmans role the 'saviour' was a character who could easily have been Micheal Jacksons personal MD..please. What I find most annoying though is the redemption. The sugar coated epiphany . . I didn't get that bit. He throws away a career he admittedly should not have but in doing so presumably because he could not besmirch the character of his heavy drinking stewardess who was twice as drunk as he was according to the toxicology. The 'Hero Fesses up' and 'heroically' throws away the financial support to his ex wife and son who presumably end up in the Hovel Nicole lived in just to save the face of a stewardess who was already labelled a drunk. Sorry but none of the angles squared up and resolutions only created further questions. Maybe I should have stuck with my original plan to sit and drink coffee and read a few magazines while my wife shopped instead of watching a movie that was designed to provoke your thoughts but when you started thinking you only realised how the plot had well 'missed the plot'. Like the unflyable plane Denzell sadly had an unplayable role. An Oscar? No sorry Denzells' Portrayal missed Micky O'Rourkes Wrestler by a country mile.
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The Strong Start Quickly Falls Apart
sddavis638 February 2013
Warning: Spoilers
This is a very serious movie. It deals with an issue that is probably more common than any of us who ever fly would probably care to think about - the possibility of alcoholic pilots flying under the influence. There's some potential for this to become a pretty good character study of Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington) - the alcoholic pilot. But it really doesn't manage to do that. There's not much in this character to actually study, to be honest. Whip is an alcoholic pilot, who won't admit that he has a drinking problem and is basically a jerk toward anyone who tries to convince him otherwise. He's not a likable character; he's not a character you really spend very much time rooting for. You're happy at the end of the movie, when he finally makes his confession to the NTSB hearing, and I personally appreciated that at the very end, he seemed repentant and cleaned up and was looking for neither sympathy nor excuses, even as he sat in prison. But there was a lot between the beginning and the end that really didn't work all that well.

I didn't really care for the character of Nicole (Kelly Reilly). Actually, to be fair, it's wasn't that I didn't care for Nicole. My problem was that I didn't see the need for Nicole. Nicole was an alcoholic and drug addict on the road to recovery who hooked up with and started a relationship with Whip. But to what end? Reilly was fine as Nicole, but what did the character really add to the movie? I just didn't see it. I didn't much care for the union rep (Bruce Greenwood) or the union's lawyer (Don Cheadle). All they basically managed to do was reinforce stereotypes about both unions and lawyers, as they fight to get Whip off the hook, even though they know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he had been drinking and that he was a drunk. That's what I want out of a pilot's union and its lawyer - getting the drunk pilot back at the controls of a plane! John Goodman added some basically comic relief to the movie as Harling, a cartoonish drug-dealer friend of Whip's. I didn't care for the co-pilot (Ken Evans) and his obnoxious but surprising unemotional wife, (Bethany Anne Lind - "thank you, Jesus" repeatedly in monotonous tones) who are angry with Whip for the crash which has left the co-pilot crippled for life, but manage to get him into a prayer session. With perhaps the exception of Nicole (who was likable but who was extraneous to the story) none of them were characters I cared about. And even Whip I didn't care that much about.

I was really put off by what will surely become one of the classic ridiculous plot devices in Hollywood history, when, the night before the NTSB hearing, the union gets Whip put up in a hotel, with all the alcohol taken out of the fridge and a guard at the door to make sure he doesn't go out for a drink. Unfortunately, the door to the adjoining room (which was also unfortunately unoccupied) was unlocked, so Whip could help himself to that fridge with no one knowing and go on a binge. Please. Don't insult my intelligence by stretching things too far. That was dumb.

The best part of the movie was the portrayal of the airline crash at the beginning, as Whip becomes a hero at first for managing to crash-land the plane with only six people being killed. That was very well done, very tense and seemed realistic enough to me. After that, to be honest, this kind of fell apart. (5/10)
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Crashed but didn't burn
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.
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Stalls and Crashes
Cinnyaste5 November 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Full Disclosure: Hold a Private Pilots License.

In "The Lost Weekend" and "Days of Wine and Roses," men battle their addiction to alcohol. Both Ray Milland and, particularly, Jack Lemmon portrayed the alcoholic lifestyle to perfection.

Then there's Denzel Washington. He's a pilot taking control of a doomed commuter jet on a hop from Orlando to Atlanta. Mr. Washington performs a miraculous, impossible maneuver to save the 102 souls on board (losing six) when a catastrophic mechanical failure occurs. Problem is he's drunk (.24) and roused from the alcoholic stupor by cocaine.

"Flight" follows Mr. Washington from the pre-flight check to his testimony at the NTSB investigation.

There is a subtext of rebirth and spirituality in "Flight." Passengers are helped from the crash by a group holding a baptismal service as the plane shears their church spire and misses them by mere feet. His co-pilot thanks God for the crash even though both legs are crushed. However, it's not a spiritual path moving Mr. Washington along his character arc. It's a fellow addict in a parallel story and facing the lies about his life.

One might believe this is the stuff of great drama. Unfortunately, the venerable Mr. Zemeckis allowed padding in this overlong story with too many meaningless scenes that keep the film circling for a landing. We learn very little about Mr. Washington. Most information about his past is gleaned by inference; we first see a Navy tattoo, but he's too young to have flown in Vietnam and too old for the Middle eastern wars; he was a pilot for Delta and it's inferred he's well down the career ladder; his Tuskegee Airman father may have been a drunk who operated a crop dusting service but there's no indication it was an abusive relationship (his Mother is barely mentioned); his son hates him for being a drunk while his ex-wife can barely stand the sight of him at her door. But why? People drink to ameliorate pain.

In "The Lost Weekend" we know Milland is disappointed in himself for not being able to write. In "Days of Wine and Roses" drinking stems from career pressure and working a job Lemmon loathes. The bottom line: it's self- loathing.

What makes Mr. Washington drink? "Flight" offers not an iota of explanation. He's just a garden variety drunk who not only flies loaded but drives that way as well. Drunk driving and flying are inexcusable. Without empathy served up, Mr. Washington is highly unlikable even though he's a stud pilot who saved a lot of people. That's the germ of the story missing from "Flight." The locus between bum and hero. The multifaceted personality drawing positive and negative attention.

That a slick lawyer buries the toxicology report to keep Washington out of prison adds little to this "hero." As does his personal drug dealer, John Goodman, introduced with The Stones' "Sympathy For The Devil."

Portraying an airline allowing the damaged jackscrew causing the elevator failure to remain 1200 hours after a maintenance notification unfairly paints them as uncaring incompetents. Not cool. Aircraft Mechanics should picket theaters.

The reason Mr. Washington caves at the NTSB hearing is to save the reputation of a (boozy) flight attendant he was bedding. His decision is made because she saved a child during the crash and he admits he's told too many lies. A greater story of the politics of lying is absent in "Flight." A missed opportunity for a better story.

The final scene has Washington's son visiting him in prison under the guise of writing a paper with the theme, "The Most Interesting Person I've Never Met." The son's first question is, "Who are you?" Mr. Washington answers, "I don't know." If he doesn't, how is the audience to know. It's a senseless response given Mr. Washington, it's inferred, had a great life he wasted for reasons unknown.

There is something in the script of "Flight" the writer (a hack who's written some real dreck) kept to himself. Or couldn't articulate. It's a shame a Director of Zemeckis' proportions chose to film it. "Flight" is a talky, overlong, snoozy character study minus a leading character that's also absent tension and internal conflict.
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Omg... retarded audience needed
Luca26 December 2012
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.
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another "lost weekend" remake but without the bite, ultimately "a lost opportunity"
trelerke-politics9 November 2012
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.
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A terrible film that sends a dangerous message
sixbells9910 March 2013
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.
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Excellent Character Study
jmillerdp3 November 2012
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
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Don't read too many reviews - experience it for yourself.
RavenZ6 December 2012
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.
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Washington Carries this Film
Nolan Dalla3 November 2012
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.
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Chix Chat on Film Review: Prepare for take off!
Emma Dinkins3 November 2012
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.
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Flying scenes are BS
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.
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It's like 2 different movies
Patricia Whitney16 November 2012
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!"
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Not what it seemed
rgerber45 November 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Flight is not a movie about an airplane crash, it's a movie about a alcoholic / drug addict who needs to hit rock bottom, then sink even lower, before finding redemption. Though finely acted by Denzel Washington, his character has few redeeming qualities and it's flat out hard to root for him, even in the clichéd ending. I also have a big problem with the stereotyped co-pilot and his even more blatantly stereotyped wife. The co-pilot, a devout Christian, becomes worthless during the crash sequence, relying on prayer and basically panicking... meanwhile, totally wasted and fried Denzel Washington (drunk and high on coke) saves the day. Then, later in a hospital scene, the co-pilot's Stepfordwife-esque spouse stand by his side, never blinks, and her only dialog consists of her saying "Praise Jesus" in a loud monotone every time her husband says something. If minority or gay characters were portrayed as such blatant stereotypes, the critics and mainstream media would be up in arms. Other than that, Flight is a pretty good movie - well acted and directed, and hauntingly realistic. The entire crash sequence is extremely realistic, enough so that I guarantee you'll be thinking about it the next time you hit severe turbulence on a trip somewhere. But,before seeing it, you need to be aware that Flight is not the movie the commercials make you think it is, so go in with your eyes open. Oh, and another note: don't take your kids to see this movie unless exposing them to raunchy language (particularly one scene where a drunk and belligerent Washington tells off a recovering addict)and full frontal female nudity is OK with you.
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