Movie review: Flight (2013)

While it may not be the most obvious movie to see at your local cinema, plane crash thriller Flight is an action packed and emotional rollercoaster (or should that be flight simulator) that quickly has you hooked on its many twists and turns.

When pilot William “Whip” Whitaker (Denzel Washington) miraculously ditches an out of control commercial resulting in only 6 deaths, the initial investigations point towards the accident being caused by mechanical failure. However as a closet-alcoholic and drug user, Whip had been both drunk and high at the controls of the aircraft. The media is quick to heap praise on him, however he knows the truth as to his physical state on the morning of the crash and is aware that the NTSB’s more thorough investigations will almost certainly uncover the truth. Despite his unwillingness to change his lifestyle he has to face his alcoholism and drug problems in order to avoid taking the blame at the hearing.

While the movie focuses primarily on Denzel Washington’s character, he has a fantastic supporting cast to back him up: Fleeting love interest Nicole (Kelly Rielly) is a recovering heroin addict and provides an interesting juxtaposition to Whip, whose life is spiralling out of control, neighbour, friend and drug dealer Harling Mays (John Goodman) provides some genuine laughs with his self-importance and outlandish behaviour, and attorney Hugh Lang (Don Cheadle) cunningly fights Whips corner, trying to shift the blame anywhere and everywhere else. All play their roles brilliantly and add so much to the story, which in turn adds so much to the character of Whip.

However the standout character is, of course, Denzel Washington. Having earned a nomination for Best Actor at the 85th Academy Awards, it is plain to see why he has a shot at the award. He’s charismatic, he struts, and he’s in control. A mouthful of booze, a noseful of cocaine an eyeful of an insanely beautiful naked woman and he’s ready for his 9am flight.

But as well as portraying Whip’s cool front, Washington handles the character with a certain gravitas. You understand he has problems and that his problems could hurt a lot of people and even lead him to time in jail, but you can’t help but root for him as he struggles to cope. He takes you on a journey through the story, and hopefully this journey will end with Washington deservedly taking the Academy Award.

With excessive alcohol and drug misuse and scenes of nudity, it’s needless to say this isn’t a movie for the kids, however if you’re stuck for something to watch then I would definitely recommend giving it a viewing. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea; however it is worth giving a chance.

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