"Flight" is directed by Robert Zemeckis, a man behind such films as Back to the Future-trilogy and everyone's favorite film of all time, Forrest Gump. But forget Forrest Gump right now and go see this movie. Zemeckis has made his first live-action film after more than 10 years, and it is a powerful comeback.
The movie tells about Whip Whitaker, a flight captain. Whip is very skillful in his job, only problem is that he's an alcoholic and likes drugs as well. During a flight to Atlanta, the plane goes to a dreadful dive. Whip manages to make an emergency landing and save 96 passengers out of 102. He is celebrated as a hero, but if the fact that he was under the influence of alcohol and cocaine was exposed, he'd go to jail immediately. With the help of lawyer Hugh Lang and trade union representative Charlie Anderson, Whip tries to get rid of the accusations that are raised after the results of his blood test come to light.
The film follows the progress of the investigation of what happened in the flight, but what makes Flight a truly interesting film is the character of Whip. He is a very complex character, drinking booze always when he can, throwing them to sewers when the conscience starts to reproach but denying his problem immediately when someone broaches it. Despite his drinking problem, he's a character we truly come to care about.
Flight is a powerful, thoughtful, entertaining, well-paced and sometimes even harrowing drama that stays really well together. Because the viewer cares about and feels sympathy towards Whip, you simply feel it necessary to find out what eventually happens to him, and that's why the movie isn't boring at any point. The film also sometimes builds some devilish suspense, like the flight scene already in the beginning.
Flight isn't a movie without flaws. Like many other films today, it's running time is too long. The near two and a half hours would almost be justifiable if the ending wasn't so elongated and slightly sentimental. What also distracted was that Kelly Reilly's character was presented like another main character in the beginning of the film, but in the end it's a supporting role. And I like to think it's highly improbable to roll an airliner full 360 degrees as Whip does, but that didn't bother.
Denzel Washington gives one the strongest performances of his career as a reckless, but still benevolent Whip. His charisma and screen presence are once again overpowering. Great are also Don Cheadle as Lang, Bruce Greenwood as Anderson and Brian Geraghty as Whip's copilot. John Goodman provides comic reflief as Whip's friend and drug dealer, Harling Mays, bringing some humor to an otherwise severe story. He should have had more screen time, now he has only two scenes in the movie.