From the man that brought you ‘Back To The Future’, ‘Polar Express’ and ‘A Christmas Carol’ there’s drug use, profanity and nudity within the opening minutes of the film. Is this step back to ‘adult themed’ films a step in the right direction?
The film centers around a pilot who is in an emotional conflict with himself, turning to drugs and drink on a regular basis. When a flight he’s piloting goes badly wrong it’s up to him to land the plane safely despite being somewhat “under the influence”. This then leads to the turn of events where we see the development of his character going through the successful/ unsuccessful recovery process and the different questions that are asked about the incident. That’s about it really. Simple storyline but with very complex characters so it’s still an interesting and entertaining experience.
The acting is sound throughout, with a supporting cast made up of John Goodman, Bruce Greenwood and Don Cheadle who all give good performances but nothing too special. Kelly Reilly is of particular interest in this film, playing a drug addict who is trying to recover from her past actions. I’ve never really seen her shine in anything before but I think ‘Flight’ is the first time I have been impressed by her acting, she is well suited for the role and gives a solid performance. But the man who really keeps the film together right from the word go, is of course Denzel Washington.
Washington’s character is really what keeps the piece together, showing emotional and personal conflict very well and keeping the film interesting. The film does lose it’s way after a very impressive first act, but it’s the character development that made me want to continue watching the film. Now I don’t know if that’s down to his acting or the writing but either way it was impressive to see Washington add a human level to the character so he was believable and someone you could connect with. It may not have been someone you wanted to connect with, but you still did so on an emotional level. It reminded me a lot of his character in ‘Training Day’ because much like he was for that film he is at conflict with himself and really made that work for the film. He stops the film from slacking too much which is commendable. It wasn’t his best performance, but it was good to see him getting back in to some serious acting after a couple of shaky films in recent years.
The writing for the film is sound, the screenplay was a bit weak in some areas but still good nonetheless. The directing is of a high standard but it’s not Zemeckis’ best piece of work by far. It is a good film, but after making films like ‘Castaway’ and ‘Forest Gump’ it doesn’t really compare. That isn’t a bad thing, it just shows variety in his work.
After a certain point it is easy to see where the film is going and it does lose interest for a bit which is a shame, but it doesn’t negate the elements of the film that are good and it does manage to pick itself back up and find it’s footing when the questions start being asked. It does present some interesting themes, mostly based around the idea of redemption but it does so in a more cynical light that shows failure and a weighted attempts at changing which was a different experience and one I rather enjoyed. More importantly for me it explored the idea of what it means to be a hero and whether someone can truly be a hero in today’s world which was interesting to see develop. The messages of believing in yourself and determination were accompanied very well by the idea of reflecting on your actions and the questioning of religion, making it stand out for me on a personal level.
Overall I would give the film three and a half stars out of five, but it is close to four stars. It was an enjoyable piece of film that was baggy in sections but was definitely held together by Denzel Washington who is the star of the film. I have been informed that the science behind what happens to the plane isn’t strictly possible or realistic but the way it is presented makes it seem believable and works as an exciting piece of cinema.
Could have done without the appearance of Piers Morgan to be honest.