Explosive flight crash scene: check. Mild nudity from a woman of generous proportions: check. Drugs and booze: check. Denzel Washington: check. So Flight ticks a lot of components aimed to lure the Hollywood hounding audiences. But is it actually any good? Actually, yeah.
Flight follows the conscientious journey of Whip the pilot (Denzel) and his battle with the mini bar. The scene is set from the off with a hungover Captain Denzel reveling in the typical western weaknesses. He’s low on sleep and high on coke and is now about to flight a commercial plane.
Denzel is characteristically brilliant and it’s no wonder he’s up for Best Actor at the Academy Awards for this role, but it’s even better to see John Goodman out of the stuffy suits and back to his comedy credentials playing someone who looks like they never really left Woodstock
It’s no spoiler to know that the plane meets its doom in what is a gripping, wince-worthy, budget-bowing scene but despite Denzel’s intoxication, he manages to come off as a bit of a hero. Now, kids, don’t take that as an excuse to get high and fly planes. Just when you think the film is about to sanction such extreme hobbies, the true consequences of this irresponsibility begin to look less rewarding. Over the next, perhaps a little too long, hour and a half, we witness Denzel desperately trying to steer his moral rudder as he see-saws the scenarios of little white lies and big black rhino-sized ones. Lies may unlock freedom, but what’s freedom if you’re a prisoner to your past? All together now: “testify!”
Denzel is characteristically brilliant and it’s no wonder he’s up for Best Actor at the Academy Awards for this role, but it’s even better to see John Goodman out of the stuffy suits and back to his comedy credentials playing someone who looks like they never really left Woodstock, almost as much as it’s wonderful to see Don Cheadle, period.
It’s impossible to ignore the religious undertone of this film. In a world where we know everything you see on screen carries as many hidden messages as a thieving postman, we’re often reminded of the uses and gratifications of faith with the frequent references to Christianity. Make of that what you will but it manages to stay within the ring of what’s acceptable without suggesting we’re all going to hell. Just.
Despite the occasional spoon full of sugar rammed into our mouths to sweeten the depiction of addiction and the nannying way we’re reminded of how important it is to tell the truth, Flight manages to be enjoyable without wagging its finger at us too much. An exciting start and minimal turbulence (still trying to figure out the purpose of Kelly Reilly here), Flight is worth the trip.