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Film Review – Flight

Director: Robert Zemeckis
Screenplay: John Gatins
Cast: Denzel Washington, Don Cheadle, John Goodman, Kelly Riley
Genre: Drama
Rating: ****
Venue: Ster Kinekor Maerua Mall Cine 3

Denzel Washington plays William ’Whip’ Whitaker, an alcoholic pilot who crash lands an aeroplane and saves some of the passengers from a terrible death. His heroism is short lived when events leading to the crash are investigated and a toxicology report reveals the underlying secret of the pilot. Like every other alcoholic he is oblivious to what is going on around him and this leads to an estranged relationship between Whitaker, his wife and his son. The plane crash becomes a catalyst to help him realize that he has a serious problem.
Not only is he a broken man, he is a man on the path to self destruction and no-one can help him.
The film takes off with a bang and ends up in an emotional tailspin. The first hour of the film takes us on the events that lead to the crash and the actual crash itself, while the second hour is about Whitaker’s trial which becomes an eye opener for the negligent pilot.
As usual Washington is convincing in his role, he is devoted to the character, and yes he yet again managed to wow me. Don Cheadle is great as Hugh Lang. Lang is Whitaker’s legal representative in the trial and John Goodman (Harling Mays) steps out of his comedian shell and plays an unusual character as Whitaker’s friend and enabler. Kelly Riley is great as Whip’s troubled and drug addicted friend Nicole.
Robert Zemeckis managed to capture the lifestyle of an addict in the very first scenes of the film, it’s raunchy, there is nudity, drug use and foul language. The scenes made me want to cringe and think what! Denzel playing such a type of character? Never in my life did I think he would portray such a role but then again this is Denzel we are talking about. He can be anything.
The highlights of the film are the crash scene and the trial scenes. The trial is very emotional and that emotion is also captured in the eyes of Whitaker and that of the prosecutor as he admits to having being intoxicated on the days leading to the crash and on the day of the crash.
If asked to say what the film is about I would simply say the film is a character check into the life and struggles of an alcoholic. It is well written and gives the audience an intimate glimpse into the life of an addict. The title of the film is somewhat misleading, as one immediately thinks it is an action packed movie. It is instead a moral drama that is great to watch and is believable, life changing and tells the truth about alcoholism, making it a must watch.

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