Review: Flight

Valdemar Alsop 25 February 2013

Denzel Washington leads the way in Robert Zemeckis’ Oscar-pitched drama. Captain Whip (Washington) has a problem: he’s a drug-abusing drunk. Whip’s plane and its passengers have a bigger problem: they’re about to be torn into tiny pieces fit only for horsemeat burger-fodder unless someone, somehow, navigates their stricken barge of death through this storm and onto the shores of safety on the ground. And the in-flight mini-bar has already been lightened…

Slipping from the risque opening to the runaway plane, Zemeckis enticingly bounces you through a barnstorming sequence in the air, happily gripping you with a flair for action that tugs out the veins from under your skin with gripping tension. It’s from these dark moments that the reluctant phoenix that is Whip resurrects himself as the hero. Just don’t mention the booze to the media. From here, Flight’s focus is about one man versus his addition and its consequences. Scared this is another schmaltzy tail of personal redemption? Granted, it’s not the most original story, and there’s a big worry about cliches, but rightly Oscar-nominated for his performance, Denzel does a delightful job of dominating the screen, commandingly navigating the gritty personal tail-spin of the investigation into Whip’s courage. More British Airways than Ryanair, Flight easily has enough excellent action and acting to entertain you as you shelter from the returning snow in the cinema. A hip-flask might be in bad taste, though. Just saying.

Valdemar Alsop