From takeoff to landing “Flight” provides the audience with emotionally engaging plot developments. Combining brilliant acting, compelling plot structure and a driving question of morality, this film certainly has all the components to produce high-flying levels of enjoyment.
The plot follows airline captain Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington) and the events surrounding the crash of a plane he was piloting. The crash totals the plane and causes the death of six on board. The investigators seem to agree that, had it not been for the brave and genius maneuvering of Whitaker, many more would have died and thus the retired navy pilot is praised as a hero.
This all begins to change, however, when evidence surfaces that Whitaker had been under the influence of drugs and alcohol at the time of the flight. These accusations are further fueled by an investigation of the crash by the manufacturers of the plane and the pilots’ union. As Whitaker seems to be moving closer to facing his addictive demons, the question of his morality begins to arise, which leaves the audience asking if Whitaker’s heroic actions justify the reckless and endangering lifestyle he lives.
Washington stands out in his leading performance and essentially makes the movie. His emotionally driven acting produces so much pain that the audience wants to see what becomes of him. Though other smaller characters support his performance, Washington’s performance makes him the most memorable aspect of the film.
The direction, by Oscar-winner Robert Zemeckis, captures the intensity and emotion of the compelling plot through perfect pace and storytelling. With quick cuts, Zemeckis succeeds with his driving pace. The script, penned by John Gatins, also succeeds in telling a story that is both thrilling and compelling, possessing moving commentary on the human condition. The emotion is displayed in the film’s climactic scene, where Whitaker is finally forced to confront all of the hardships that have been building up as a result of his lifelong denial of his addictions.
The only major flaw of the film is that some moments tend to drag on. Scenes such as Whitaker’s official court hearing contain long pauses where nothing happens. While it might have been included as a means of instilling suspense, it comes off as boring.
As “Flight” unfolds, gripping events come to life with all of the makings of a top-quality thriller. A moving story filled with emotion is topped off masterfully with one of the most memorable acting performances of the year.
Overall Rating: 3 ½ Stars