(Denzel Washington, Don Cheadle, John Goodman, Kelly Reilly, Bruce Greenwood, et al / 2-Disc Blu ray+DVD / R / 2012 / Paramount)
Overview: Airline pilot Whip Whitaker (Washington) miraculously lands his plane after a mid-air catastrophe. But even as he’s being hailed for his heroic efforts, questions arise as to who or what was really at fault.
Blu ray Verdict: Robert Zemeckis's 'Flight' is one of the most incredible, highly-watchable films of the year. It may well be 2 hrs and 18 mins long, but trust me when I say that around the time you look at your watch for the very first time you will be amazined to learn only has 20 mins left! It's just that absorbing and unique of a story, believe me.
It brings is a story of a pilot fighting his addictions and is yet another brilliant showcase for Denzel's Washington's talent. It is heartening to see Denzel Washington getting better at his craft with age. The aura of this veteran actor still transcends the movies he is in, and as much as he effortlessly repeats this in Flight the brilliant direction and story is a worthy complement to his performance as ace pilot Whip Whittaker, who runs into bad weather, literally and figuratively.
Flight's writer, John Gatins, an unpretentious and upcoming talent who penned the imaginative, underrated, Real Steel with Hugh Jackman from early 2012, proves that he is only beginning to find his Hollywood muse. Flight is similarly entertaining, but it is much heavier on serious drama. It is that curious mix of old fashioned big budget entertainment and intimate involving drama focusing on human foibles leading to tragic consequences.
Robert Zemeckis is one of the least self-indulgent directors working in Hollywood. He is a master of light-hearted, entertaining fare, for kids and adults alike, in the best tradition of Hollywood films - Romancing the Stone, Back to the Future - being proofs of his great sense for spectacle and storytelling. But he has also made big mainstream movies with remarkable emotional power and seriousness that has stood the test of time - 'Contact' and 'Castaway,' being notable examples.
With 'Flight' he has proved once again that he is also a master of this more serious fare that instructs and delights. Much of his effectiveness in making big budget films that turn into lyrical, intimate dramas, stems from his remarkable eye for casting, and his ability to hire great actors and leave them alone to find new directions in performance they have not gone before. As such, he seems to be that rare example of an action director who is also an actor's director, a great collaborator with the actors he has chosen for his title roles. One hopes there is more to come from the Washington-Zemeckis collaboration in the future because Washington, like Zemeckis, has broken new ground.
Seeing Denzel Washington play the tortured role of Whip Whittaker to perfection in 'Flight' got me thinking of his acting talent once again. He plays the victor and the vanquished with his characteristic pathos and honesty. The ups and downs of Whip's life are relentless and the chaos in Whip's life is hard to watch only because Washington gives his all in a precise and controlled performance. It takes a good deal of serenity, paradoxical as this may sound, in an actor to convincingly portray extremes of self-loathing and self-confidence on screen without it all floundering clumsily into messy melodrama. Denzel Washington as Whip in "flight" from reality is my pick for the best actor Oscar.
Strength and failure converge remarkably well in Washington's portrayal of a pilot superbly alive to his craft but lost to life. In one blinding moment of decision his life descends on his craft. A man too used to success has to steel himself for a harrowing admission of failure. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.