Starring: Denzel Washington, Kelly Reilly, Bruce Greenwood, Don Cheadle, John Goodman, Nadine Velazquez, Garcelle Beauvais.
Rated: R. Drama. Running Time: 2 hours 18 minutes.
I may never fly again. The opening scene twisted my stomach in knots due to an excess of morning drinking, followed by a horrifying stormy flight. Perhaps I’ll start travelling only by land or sea. I’m not the worst flyer, or the best. I hate turbulence (who doesn’t), I hate shaky landings and my palms sweat profusily whenever I’m taking off. Ross and I fly quite a bit, so I usually grab his hand or arm to have something to hold onto. Flight most definitely had a message to convey, but at times was very uncomfortable to watch, which I assume is the point. The character development was brilliant, so was the acting. But with a cast featuring Denzel Washington, Don Cheadle and John Goodman the audience should expect no less. On several occassions I found myself speaking aloud, “No, come on…don’t do that.” It was similar to watching a horror film where you try to tell the girl not to go in that room, or to run from the house. Honestly, it’s not my favorite genre of film and I found it to be long with some boring lulls. But it was powerful enough to make me feel for the characters and understand the underlying message.
Maria is not the best flyer at times, so I knew the opening stages of the movie were unsettling for her. Flight. Not sure that should have been the title of the movie, though the first fifteen minutes which includes the ill-fated flight, are BY FAR the best part of the movie. I mean, edge of your seat, hold your breath film making at it’s best. Unfortunately for me, the rest of the movie was a car wreck. I think it should’ve been called Booze Pilot. Or, Leaving The Cockpit. We haven’t seen a self destructive drunk this bad since Nick Cage’s gut wrenching turn in Leaving Las Vegas, hence my aforementined alternate title. Sure Denzel was fantastic, and I understand the basic message they’re trying to get across. But I’m pretty sure we all know by now, drugs are bad. Alcohol in excess is bad. You can ruin your life. Got it. But I go to the movies to be swept away. To laugh and cry and try to figure out what’s next, or see magical new places or scary aliens. To see if the guy gets the girl or gets her back. See the bad guy finally get his or even better, watch a bad guy turn good or find out he was good all along (Professor Snape!!). I don’t watch movies to get depressed and feel like shit after it’s over. Artistically, I get the reason for making Flight and appreciate the great acting. But I’d still rather have back the last 2 hours and three minutes to do something more fun, perhaps laundry or lawn mowing.
The crash. By far the best part of the film, as Ross already pointed out. It was reminiscent of Cast Away, another of Robert Zemeckis’ films. The man is genius at putting together plane crashes on the big screen. Of course, the crash was far more tumultuous in Cast Away and Flight falls short of the emotional magnitude of the earlier film. I can’t go by Cast Away without watching some of it and literally balling everytime he loses Wilson, a volleyball. But it moves me. Every single time. I have to be honest and admit that I could easily click right past Flight. The movie didn’t completely miss the mark, but it didn’t resonate with me. I realize the tenor of the movie was supposed to be serious and raw, but toward the end I started to doze off. I didn’t care what happened, so in that respect it lost me. Perhaps if Washington’s character had some endearing or redeeming qualities I would have felt more invested in him. But it was too little too late when he finally decided to bare his soul. One last thing I must mention, John Goodman is fantastic. He’s only on screen a few times, and not for more than a few minutes, but he makes a lasting impression, as always.
Agreed, John Goodman was a highlight. His drug dealer Harling Mays, was like a cross between his character in The Big Lebowski and “The Dude” himself. Superb. I didn’t like Flight, as you can plainly see. It did make me think however, about the men and women up there flying us around. How many of them have been partying the night before? Or even the morning of a flight. Maybe they should put those blower gadgets in the cockpit like they do to the cars of people who’ve had DUI’s. Couldn’t hurt, though I would prefer crashing to watching Flight ever again.
Maria’s Rating: 3 Gummy Bears out of 5.
Ross’ Rating: 2 Gummies (for the flight itself and John Goodman).