Flight: A Review (08.02.13, Cineworld, Bolton)
8th February 2013
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It has been said that 'Denzel Washington doesn't make a bad film'. And his latest effort has certainly garnered a lot of attention. You can catch it at Cineworld, Bolton, for the foreseeable future, and it's definitely worth a watch.

THE PLOT

William 'Whip' Whitaker (Washington) is an experienced pilot with a secret. Through a cruel twist of fate, and of no fault of his own, he finds himself at the helm of an aircraft that is going to crash, and he does his best to save as many of the 102 souls on board.

As a result of the incident, the authorities learn of his addiction to alcohol and cocaine. He is seen as a hero to the outside world - nobody else could have landed the plane the way he did - yet he is subject to an investigation that could see him go to prison for life.

Struggling with himself, Whitaker discovers he is his own worst enemy, and nobody can make him see differently. Not his ex-wife or his son, not his attorney Hugh Lang (Cheadle), not even fellow addict and love interest Nicole (Reilly).

Ensnared in a web of lies, Whitaker will either land himself in prison, or carry on his path of destruction. At the end of the day, it is his choice.

THE REVIEW

The quote above regarding Denzel Washington and his penchant for perfect performances actual came from a friend at work. And it was only after further reflection that I realised I hadn't actually seen him in anything (though this was later rescinded as I have seen 'The Taking Of Pelham 123').

His performance in 'Flight' has compelled me to take a look at some of his other efforts. Because he really is spectacular. It's a gritty role he has taken on by playing the part of Whip Whitaker, but one in which he has excelled, more than worthy of the Oscar nomination.

Washington's potrayal of the substance-fuelled pilot leaves you conflicted; Do you like him? Are you allowed to like him? Is it wrong to like him? You'll find yourself liking him, without a doubt, it's impossible not to. But you'll also loath him, pity him, empathise with him, and much more.

Yet Washington's job is made easier thanks to the terrific cast and support surrounding him. Kelly Reilly's performance as fellow drug-addict Nicole is excellent, almost enough to steal the spotlight from the main man. Not easy. The screenplay is also one of the best seen in recent years.

The fact I have not yet mentioned the crash itself should speak volumes. This film doesn't rely on that moment to draw viewers in, the story is more than good enough to do that. But the idea is unique, of a plane being flown upside down on purpose, and the scenes reflect that. This isn't a high-budget film, and it shows that harrowing scenes can be done well without millions of dollars being thrown at it.

This film further promotes Denzel Washington as one of the World's leading actors, yet the cast are not overshadowed. It is a roller coaster of a film, with emotions taken all over the place, and the odd bit of humour thrown. It's dark but light, it's heartbreaking but heartlifting. There are hardcore scenes of drinking and drug-use, but it's a necessary evil.

It's a hit, and a must see.

THE ESSENTIALS

Directed By: Robert Zemeckis

Produced By: Laurie MacDonald, Walter F. Parkes, Jack Rapke, Steve Starkey, Robert Zemeckis

Written By: John Gatins

Release Date: Friday 1st February 2013

Running Time: 139 Minutes

Cast: Denzel Washington, Don Cheadle, Melissa Leo, Kelly Reilly, John Goodman, Bruce Greenwood

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