I was excited for Robert Zemeckis’ return to live action movies and Flight didn’t disappoint. It’s not that I didn’t like his animated works, it’s just that I like when directors try to challenge themselves and bring you something different every time. Having said that, Flight is not an extremely original movie. The issues tackled in this have been dealt with before in movies like Leaving Las Vegas. Where Flight excels is in its eccentric characters. My favorite being Denzel Washington’s best friend in the movie played by John Goodman. He’s only in it for a grand total of ten minutes, but he brings a bit of levity to an otherwise depressing topic. He is Denzel’s unapologetic enabler. And Don Cheadle as a confident, but not cocky lawyer who tries to defend Denzel shines in every scene he’s in. I would be surprised if he wasn’t nominated for at least a Golden Globe.
The previews were kind of misleading as to the movie’s topic of alcoholism and other addictions. The plane crash is more like a macguffin that forces Denzel’s character into facing his demons. The crash itself is probably one of the most white-knuckle moments I’ve experienced at the movies in a long time. I really felt dizzy when the plane rolled and had a sense of vertigo when we were shown the pilot’s view of the quickly approaching ground.
Where Flight falters is in its sense of seriousness. Like its main character, it refuses to take the issues seriously. I’m all for a little humor in dramas, but it was like this one didn’t know what it wanted to be, a drama or a dark comedy. I’m led to believe that Denzel’s character’s actions are because of his family, yet I saw less of them than I did John Goodman. This movie could have been much more powerful if it took a little more time to develop those relationships.
Flight plays more like a spiritual sequel to Forrest Gump, with its catchy soundtrack, than a cautionary tale of addiction and the destructiveness of lying. It is by no means a bad movie, but it has a little growing up to do.
7 out of 11
Check out the trailer below: