GT Screen

REVIEW: Flight

GT watches the latest action flick...

Denzel Washington stars as Whip Whitaker, a tearaway pilot whose impulsive and heroic actions during a fatal plane malfunction (saving 96 of 102 lives) are questioned by his on-going personal struggle with drugs and alcoholism.

An investigation into Whitaker's drunken actions, the 6 deaths and subsequent court case truncates the plot into a simple fable of morality and ethics - cover his vodka-scented tracks, or face charges of manslaughter - with Don Cheadle and Nadine Velazquez also starring, providing important pieces of the jigsaw.

Semi-protagonist Whitaker is portrayed as a modern day superhero (alcohol being his kryptonite) and his journey - from inebriated to guilt-ridden, to inebriated...and back again...many times - is performed so impeccably and honestly that 'Flight' becomes something of a one-man masterclass in acting (which of course Washington is the indisputable expert in). This particular casting is imperative, as the 138-minute movie is a slow burner that manages to entertain yet cries out for another intense sequence to equal the first epic and catastrophic half-hour (where at times you find yourself gripping your seat with sweaty palms).

John Goodman's appearance as the 'devil on the shoulder' bad boy Harling Mays provides much needed comic relief, offering wisdom, assistance and copious amounts of cocaine in a character that channels both Melissa McCarthy in “Bridesmaids” and Johnny Depp in “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”. A brilliant addition and perfectly scripted.

'Flight' has already proved to be a contender for several awards - including a justified 'Best Actor' Oscar nomination for Washington - but the simplistic storyline battles with the long-haul running time. A re–cut version with a reduced running time (and less filler) would be welcomed, as 'Flight' has nuggets of brilliance as a character study of a man hounded by addiction… but just not quite enough plot to sustain attention.


Words:Miloo Wakelin

More from GT Screen