Director: Robert Zemeckis
Stars: Denzel Washington, John Goodman & Don Cheadle
Film #99 of the December Project
'Flight' marks the live action film return of Robert Zemeckis, whom hasn't directed a film of this sort since 'Cast Away' back in 2000. I have read a variety of different reviews for the film, with critics reviews ranging from 1 star to 5.
An intoxicated pilot is able to successfully land a plane, which sees him rescue 96 passengers but loose 6. While being hailed as a hero by some, he is also being pursued by the law and his drunken behavior may be uncovered.
'Flight's opening 30 minutes or so are quite well done, the sequence involving the plane crash is well executed,tense and exciting, it really does give you hope for a quality film but unfortunately 'Flight' really does not hold up after its plane sequence is completed. 'Flight' then becomes a semi Air Crash investigation and and a semi character study of an alcoholic drug addict, and never seems to know which one to focus on which ultimately leads to it becoming a big mess of both, it slightly redeems itself with an interesting final 15 minutes but its definitely not enough.
The middle portion of 'Flight' drags immensely, this really did not need to run for 138 minutes, if there were around 25 minutes cut it would have done the film a world of good and allowed it to flow a lot more smoother. 'Flight' is indeed a tedious journey and in my opinion an unrewarding journey, I did not feel reimbursed for investing my time throughout that strenuous and slow middle period.
John Gatins' screenplay is quite ridiculous, there is nothing I loathe more than unnecessary religious subtext and 'Flight' has plenty of it with a hell of a lot of that 'God saved the plane' nonsense. There are so many cliches in this film that it grinded on my nerves, stuff like an alcoholics redemption, a strained father-son relationship I have seen it all done many times before and usually much better. It almost seems like Zemeckis' has lost awareness with the real world, after being lost in motion capture for so long.
I am not a Denzel Washington fan and I usually attempt to avoid films like 'Flight' which just strike me as soulless vehicles for Washington. For this film, Washington has been receiving rave reviews for his performance and has even received a Golden Globe nomination, but I have to ask, why ? Don't get me wrong he isn't bad here but doesn't he just play this role all the time, all he seems to be doing different is incorporating drunken behavior. Denzel is usually playing it really large and almost cartoony at times, I don't know any alcoholics but this just seems usually unconvincing.
Despite Roger Ebert unanimous praise, I don't think 'Flight' is a good film. Its so riddle with cliches and mind numbingly ridiculous content that I felt like had just wasted almost two and half watching it. Denzel Washington isn't bad here and the plane crash is well done, but the rest of the film is very tedious and almost a complete drag.