Film Review: Flight

Monday 30 March 2015 by

Flight, Film, Denzel Washington

I’m not actually the greatest fan of Denzel Washington, but Flight was hailed as a masterpiece, so in the end I caved. Flight tells the story of Whip Whitaker, a pilot, who saves almost all his passengers when his plane nearly crashes, but in the ensuing investigation, some troubling facts come to light.

Whitaker (played by Washington) is a high-functioning alcoholic and drug addict, and it turns out he was under the influence when he was flying, which either contributed to his miraculous landing, or it meant he was incapable of flying the plane in the first place.

So begins a tense investigation, and a game of cat-and-mouse storytelling as the authorities try to establish what happened. The film itself is well-directed and well-acted, with the most action loaded towards the beginning and the tension trickling throughout the film keeping you hooked until the end. In fact, apart from the fact that Washington is probably one of my least favourite actors, this was a remarkably entertaining film. It seems innocuous at first, but it draws you in with skill and nuance. There is a morbid fascination with the story as it goes on; the technical and psychological aspects of it. When films lack explosions and gunfights, and relies on the skill of the actors to hold sway, you need something to keep the audience going.

Flight does this without feeling too pressured to do so, making sure the facts aren’t thrown in your face and the audience is allowed to develop their own theories. This is loosely based on a real incident, but feels so fantastical that it’s hard to imagine it is real. There is something thrilling about the situation that keeps you going.

So, bias about the main character aside, I was pleasantly surprised by this film and certainly feel that it deserves another viewing (because it will most certainly take several watches before you get the full effect).

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