Friday, November 2, 2012

Flight Movie Review

Denzel Washington stars in Robert Zemeckis’s Flight

From our friends at DC Film Review...

Flight: Crazy for Cocoa Puff

Earlier this year (in a review for Safe House,) I referred to Denzel Washington as “the coolest man on the planet.” 10 months later, I’m prepared to up the ante... Denzel is the coolest man in the universe (It just sounds better, doesn’t it?) His latest turn, as airline pilot Whip Whitaker in Robert Zemeckis’s Flight is easily his best performance in years (and that’s saying a lot.) Washington literally does it all in Zemeckis’ return to live-action film, putting to rest any idea that the two-time Oscar winner is a one-trick pony.

Rotten Tomatoes Plot: In this action-packed mystery thriller, Academy Award winner, Denzel Washington stars as Whip Whitaker, a seasoned airline pilot, who miraculously crash lands his plane after a mid-air catastrophe, saving nearly every soul on board. After the crash, Whip is hailed as a hero, but as more is learned, more questions than answers arise as to who or what was really at fault and what really happened on that plane?

What’s Good: My apparent man crush aside, Denzel is sublime as the most in-control appearing, out-of-control alcoholic in the entire state of Georgia. Few actors have the ability to convey such a wide range of emotions with the ownership Denzel so obviously possesses. The ultimate anti-hero, Denzel puffs marijuana, snorts coke and swigs booze like nobody’s business. What makes his performance so compelling is his ability to make you like him even when he’s taking a shot at you. Put him down for an Oscar nom right now. Period.

Believe it or not, Flight’s success doesn’t begin and end with its star. Zemeckis combines action (the crash sequence is beyond compelling) with comedy, drama, romance and suspense... Did I miss anything? Perfect casting (Don Cheadle, Kelly Reilly, John Goodman, Bruce Greenwood and Melissa Leo) and an early lock for November’s Ms. DC Film Review (Nadine Velazquez) complete the package. This is a great movie.

What’s Not: It’s almost 140 minutes long... 20 over my supposed max. The actual ending falls a little short of my expectations, which were admittedly sky high (pun intended) but it’s enough to keep Flight from A+ status.

They Said It: This is unprecedented: I won’t even try to excuse my need to list the top 10 lines from the film (anything less would be a crime.)

10. Whip to Charlie (Greenwood) ‘Don’t tell me how to lie about my own drinking.’

9. Whip to ex-wife Deana, ‘Put Knuckles (his son) on the phone.’ Great line. Even better name

8. Co-pilot Ken (Brian Geraghty) ‘Lord Jesus, we’re inverted!’

7. Airline CEO Avington Carr (Peter Gerety) regarding Whip, ‘This guy’s a real peach.’

6. Whip to ex-wife Deana (that was some conversation) ‘I’ve been up since the crack of dawn.’

5. Whip to Nicole (Reilly) in a hospital stairwell, ‘Devious minds think alike.’

4. James Badge Dale in the aforementioned stairwell, ‘You know it’s bad when they (family) start flying in.’ Dale’s performance is small but powerful.

3. Whip regarding lawyer Hugh Lang (Cheadle) upon learning of his blood alcohol count during/after the accident, ‘I need a bigger lawyer.’

2. Harling Mays (Goodman) advising Whip on how to pass time in the hospital, ‘You just stroke it all day; You’re a hero’

and #1. Goodman again, ‘If this is gonna turn into a sponge bath, I’ll excuse myself.’

Kudos to John Gatins’ screenplay. A star (writer) is born!

What’s the Grade? As with all great movies, it’s the little things that make the biggest impressions. The sight of a stoic Denzel at an AA meeting, amidst a room full of laughter. The eerie silence, as the plane glides to its inevitable crashing. John Goodman’s intro, to the Rolling Stone’s “Sympathy for the Devil” which was also used in Fallen (also starring Denzel and Goodman.) Denzel’s quiet rendition of Joe Cocker’s “Feelin’ Alright” as he brings the plane down. Etc. Etc. Should you see this movie? Take a wild guess.

Grade: A