Flight – Review (Spoiler Free)

Flight Movie PosterIt’s not really what it sold itself as, but Denzel Washington does a great job in this recovery drama.

You could be forgiven for thinking that this was a film about a plane crash and the investigation that follows, as that’s how we were sold Flight by its trailers, however it’s actually almost entirely focused upon a tale of substance abuse and recovery. That’s no bad thing as Washington’s portrayal of the drug dependent pilot is excellent, but it is surprising at first until you adjust your expectations, and if I’m honest it’s a little disappointing that the drama of the investigation is dropped.

The crash itself is handled extremely well; it’s very tense and enough realistic details are given and discussed so as to sell what we are seeing on screen and make us believe that such an event could actually happen. It’s the most involving bit of the film, which isn’t a criticism of the rest, it’s just that nothing else can match the intensity that this moment has, and unfortunately it happens early on into the film.

I’ve mentioned Washington, but Flight does have several decent supporting performances from actors including John Goodman and Don Cheadle which need to be mentioned. I always am excited to see either of these two actors in a film and they deliver good solid  work here. The supporting cast isn’t really as effectively used as perhaps it could be, but everyone delivers on what they are supposed to, and Goodman provides several nice moments of comic relief.

It’s good to see Washington tackling a role such as this, and the film itself is a decent drama. Occasionally it’s a little predictable and safe, but this is a good effort by all involved, with a great lead performance that makes it worth checking out regardless of any small criticisms that I may make.

Summary:

What is the film’s greatest strength?
Undoubtedly it’s Washington’s great performance.

Its greatest weakness?
That it, especially the last third, becomes somewhat predictable.

Would I see it again?
Maybe at some point. It was well acted but there’s not all that much replay value to be found here.

Let me know what you think. Drop a comment in the box below!

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36 comments

  1. nice review!

    I enjoyed this film a good deal. Director Robert Zemeckis and writer John Gatins deserve a lot of credit for their work in Flight. They did what so many filmmakers have failed to do in recent years: give Denzel Washington something to sink his teeth into. The results are fantastic.It tenderly asks the question – how worthwhile is a life filled with lies?

    1. Thank you!

      I was so pleased when I watched this one and realised that he had finally been giving a part where could, as you said, sink his teeth into!
      It does ask that question, what did you think of the ending? I kind of wish he had made the other decision…

      1. The fact that you were rooting for him says a lot about how well the character was developed. I found myself split. I was rooting for him, but i also get his decision form a character development point of view; I get the change of mentality and bought it as a natural and believable transition.

        1. Yeah it does. I didn’t think it was wholly unbelievable so yeah i get what you are saying, for me though I think it more likely that he would have gone for self-preservation in that situation.

  2. I agree–I remember the previews for the film being one way, but then the film itself was way different. I thought Washington was phenomenal in it. I’m glad I saw it, but it’s one of those films that you might not care to see again for a while. Excellent review!

    1. Thank you very much!
      He was really great wasn’t he! Definitely worth a watch for him alone.

  3. The performances were all good, especially Denzel, but the material did begin to lose its sense of realism by the end, and start to turn into one convention after another. That said, still well worth the watch. Good review Rumsey.

    1. Thanks Dan! Its a shame isn’t it that it had go and slip up towards the end. I just wish that they had gone for the other ending, where he makes the other choice.

  4. Never did get around to seeing this, maybe I will soon, at least for Denzel. Great post!

    1. Thanks Joseph! I think you should check out Denzel, it’s really great performance from him!

  5. Nice review James. It became a bit formulaic towards the end and I thought Goodman’s character didn’t really fit but other than that, I really enjoyed this. Washington was outstanding to say the least.

    1. Thanks Mark, yeah Washington was impressive.
      I guess Goodman didn’t truly fit, but it worked for me – if for no other reason than to have some nice comedic relief!

  6. I really enjoyed his. I echo Mark’s above comments entirely in that Goodman looked like he was in the wrong film and the ending was a bit iffy but Washington was brilliant and well worthy of his Oscar nom in my opinion.

    1. Yeah I’m glad that he didn’t win, but it was good to see him nominated for this performance. Goodman wasn’t such a sore thumb for me, but I see where you guys are coming from!

  7. I must say that Denzel Washington played this role, and that is what managed to completely sell the movie for me. I do think that they followed a conventional recipe eventually, but it was a decent watch nonetheless!

    1. It sure was Zoë! A pity that it wasn’t strong until the end, but wasn’t the crash sequence great!

      1. The crash scene was incredibly well done!

        1. It really gripped me!

          1. Completely. And the whole time knowing he isn’t sober just makes it so much more intense!

          2. Christ I know! I was eating whilst watching the film and during that entire section I just let my food go cold. I was completely caught up in it all!

          3. Hahaha the scene was worth cooling your food over! 😛 Thank goodness I was not eating!

          4. Haha, yeah it probably isn’t the best scene for eating!

          5. You should add that to your review, so people know 😉

          6. Hmmmm maybe, or perhaps I’ll leave it as a nice surprise?

          7. Such a sadist!

          8. I am! Well to fair to myself, they must have some idea what they are getting themselves into!

          9. Technically viewers are forewarned. It is in the comments section…

          10. Exactly! All they have to do is look around! Can’t say that isn’t fair…

          11. I think it is decided… You have given plenty heads up.

          12. Excellent, it’s good to know that I’m in the clear!

  8. Great review. Washington was great but I felt that the story fell off greatly towards the end. For me that was the biggest letdown.

    1. Thanks Keith! Same here. It’s a shame that it tailed off a little, but still it’s a pretty decent film I think.

  9. Good review. 🙂 Agree on this one. Solid performance (as always) from Washington. Wasn’t sure I liked Goodman’s character. And, yes, some things were too predictable. Solid movie but not much of a re-watcher.

    1. Thank you 😀
      That’s a neat summary of how I feel! Save for the fact that I did enjoy Goodman in this one, regardless of how well or not he fit in!

  10. I very much enjoyed this movie. The crash was definitely exhilarating, and something pretty special. I actually think the movie would have been better if it went deeper into the addiction/recovery theme, and stronger without some of the other bit players, especially the girlfriend that didn’t really serve much of a purpose. It is always a sign of weakness when a romance is just carelessly thrown into a film.

    1. I agree with you that it could have been more focused in places, and if that focus had been on the addiction/recovery element then so be it. But as it ended up, it felt a bit like it had two separate agendas, and the marketed investigation side was somewhat lost in the end cut.

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