Well it’s not entirely what I expected it to be. Despite being directed by Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump and Castaway), I thought it was going to be something like Snakes on a Plane, and we all know how that turned out. So, with my expectations already low, I was pleasantly surprised: it’s not just about a plane journey.
Whip Whitaker, played by Denzel Washington, is a commercial pilot, an old-timer, who should be admired for his confident flying skills; applauded for his ability to land a plane, which has been damaged badly whilst airborne during a turbulent storm. Despite his heroics, involving flying the plane upside down and a crash landing that saved many, he is not treated as such. With high levels of cocaine and alcohol in his system, Captain Whip Whitaker is a drunk.
In this legal battle to discover the true responsibility for what went wrong, Whip tries to find himself – at the bottom of a bottle of vodka.
The plane crash is fantastic cinema. Refusing to give up, Whitaker manoeuvres the plane full of passengers in ways one dreads will ever happen to them. You feel your heart race and your stomach drop as the second engine gives up and the plane embarks in a nosedive. It’s graphic, gruesome and terrifying.
Hope is found in the almost hopeless drug addict, Nicole, played by Kelly Reilly (who, by the way, you cannot tell is English – her American accent is brilliant), when Whip endeavours to help her on the road to recovery, only for him to let her down with his own poor attempts. Humour is found with his old friend and dealer, Harling Mays (John Goodman), but there’s got to be some comedy in it because it’s such a sad and frustrating story.
There is a slight downfall: personally, I reckon it could have finished a good 20 minutes before it did. The image of a hotel room vodka bottle being snatched up is more harrowing and thought provoking than the actual finale, where good must conquer evil and a weak cliché must prevail. Bleurgh. Anyway, it must have worked for some people because the film has been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, and Washington has been nominated for Best Actor, for an Academy Award as well as a Golden Globe.
I’d recommend the watch. 3/5.
Flight has already been released in the United States on November 2nd 2012, but is not due for release in the UK until February 1st 2013.