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Flight
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497 of 540 people found the following review helpful
I know that some viewers might feel like there is a bit of a bait-and-switch when sitting down to watch the very adult drama "Flight." I was primed to see a movie about a harrowing plane crash. And indeed, this initiating sequence is staged with tremendous suspense and gut wrenching detail. It may be one of the more memorable scenes you are likely to see this year. But "Flight" is not really about this crash. It is, instead, a character study about addiction, about faith, and about taking responsibility. The heroic pilot that acted on that day is none other than Denzel Washington. But this is no ordinary hero, this is a mess of a man who fuels his life with drugs and drink. He is estranged from his family, defying propriety, and thinks that the rules don't apply to him. He's a great pilot, to be sure, that saved many souls. But he was also completely out of control when he did so. That is the moral dilemma at the heart of the movie. He is a hero. His bad acts did not cause the accident. And yet, he will still be cast in a villainous light if the truth emerges.

There are very few movies I go to these days where I really don't know what to anticipate. "Flight" started out in a completely unexpected way. We meet Washington right after a night of heavy drink and sex with a flight attendant. You know he shouldn't be flying, you know that tragedy is inevitable (if from the previews, if nothing else). But just as you are settling in, the movie takes us on a ninety degree tangent. We are than spending time with a junkie (Kelly Reilly) as she attempts to score her next fix. I was genuinely confused by this digression. Washington and Reilly split screen time during the opening scenes and fate will bring them together in the hospital. For the remainder of the movie, Reilly actively tries to rebuild her world while Washington struggles mightily to maintain the illusion of his normality. As the consequences of his addiction rise before him, Washington continues to back pedal. As a trial looms, will Washington pull it together? Will he ever be honest with himself?

At the center of "Flight" is a handful of strong and interesting performances. Without a doubt, this is one of Washington's finest roles. Even those that may not love the film itself would have to see the complexity, despair AND strength in this multi-layered character. But director Robert Zemekis (Oscar winner for the more fanciful Forrest Gump) has assembled a first rate cast to back up this bravura leading man. Don Cheadle displays a brash assuredness as Washington's attorney, Bruce Greenwood is earnest and supportive as an important ally, and John Goodman is over-the-top but effective as his drug hook-up. In smaller roles, Tamara Tunie, Nadine Velazquez, and Brian Geraghty all score pivotal moments as members of the flight crew on that fateful day. And then we have Reilly. The British actress is given an extremely meaty role as a ravaged soul fighting her way to salvation.

As an addiction drama, "Flight" is an in-your-face and provocative illustration of a man in denial. The movie also looks at faith in a way few studio films do. I appreciated that the movie (and its screenplay by John Gatins) doesn't shy away from complex issues. It is more thoughtful, more contemplative than you might initially be aware of. I'm not sure, in the end, that I believed some of the final moments and decisions. But in many ways, this was more about the journey than the destination. As long as you aren't expecting an action movie, "Flight" has a lot to recommend it. It isn't perfect, but this contemplative drama will give you a lot to think about. And it also boasts a slew of terrific performances. KGHarris, 12/12.
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104 of 117 people found the following review helpful
on February 16, 2013
This is a powerful movie about a man you to want to love's struggle with alcoholism, he just happened to be in a plane crash. This is not a courtroom drama, not an action flick (the plane crash happens in the first 30 min of the movie and lasts maybe 5-10 minutes tops, after that all drama.

The movie starts out with an epic plane crash scene, one of the best I've ever seen in a movie. Denzel's character takes control of the plane like a pro, with every ounce of drug and alcohol seemingly vaporized from his system and his instincts as an ex-Navy fighter pilot take over.

The movie is great in it has you rooting for this guy throughout, but he keeps letting you down as the viewer, as well as all of the characters in his life. You saw how awesome this guy was in the cockpit, he was a hero, yet he cannot overcome this addiction. How can a man who could do such extraordinary things be so vulnerable to addiction? The movie does this part very well.

The most powerful scene emotionally comes at the end during the NTSB hearing and the scenes that follow.

I will admit until I gauged what the film was really about I was kind of "meh" about it, but by the end I fully understood and appreciated it for what it was. Powerful movie indeed.
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197 of 227 people found the following review helpful
on February 6, 2013
Now, when I first saw this movie I had no idea what it was about. I only knew that it had a tremendous Oscar-winning actor playing the role of a pilot. I had no idea I was in for such a wild ride. I will point out first and foremost that this is a very well put together piece of cinema. The acting, pacing, cinematography, character development is nothing short of top-notch. That being said, I can understand how marketing and trailers could have caused many people to become mislead to what the film would be covering as many of the negative reviewers seemed to have missed the point. This movie was about a plane crash in the way that The Shawshank Redemption was about escaping prison. Yes, those are both the fundamental plot points but they're more like a side effect of the central themes. (Not to say that the crash scene in Flight wasn't one of the most intense scenes I'd seen in years or that the prison escape scene in Shawshank didn't give me an all encompassing feeling of joy). But in my humble opinion, a movie shouldn't be spelled out for you in the trailers. Too many films do that already (mainly comedies/action/romance). Instead you should go into a film with an open mind and see where it takes you. Without giving too much away, you may be pleasantly surprised, as I know I was. This is the kind of film that makes you reflect on the choices you make. What you would do to save your reputation. How your words affect those around you. How your actions affect those you love. And how to find salvation when it feels like its impossible to grasp.
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31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
I know that some viewers might feel like there is a bit of a bait-and-switch when sitting down to watch the very adult drama "Flight." I was primed to see a movie about a harrowing plane crash. And indeed, this initiating sequence is staged with tremendous suspense and gut wrenching detail. It may be one of the more memorable scenes you are likely to see this year. But "Flight" is not really about this crash. It is, instead, a character study about addiction, about faith, and about taking responsibility. The heroic pilot that acted on that day is none other than Denzel Washington. But this is no ordinary hero, this is a mess of a man who fuels his life with drugs and drink. He is estranged from his family, defying propriety, and thinks that the rules don't apply to him. He's a great pilot, to be sure, that saved many souls. But he was also completely out of control when he did so. That is the moral dilemma at the heart of the movie. He is a hero. His bad acts did not cause the accident. And yet, he will still be cast in a villainous light if the truth emerges.

There are very few movies I go to these days where I really don't know what to anticipate. "Flight" started out in a completely unexpected way. We meet Washington right after a night of heavy drink and sex with a flight attendant. You know he shouldn't be flying, you know that tragedy is inevitable (if from the previews, if nothing else). But just as you are settling in, the movie takes us on a ninety degree tangent. We are than spending time with a junkie (Kelly Reilly) as she attempts to score her next fix. I was genuinely confused by this digression. Washington and Reilly split screen time during the opening scenes and fate will bring them together in the hospital. For the remainder of the movie, Reilly actively tries to rebuild her world while Washington struggles mightily to maintain the illusion of his normality. As the consequences of his addiction rise before him, Washington continues to back pedal. As a trial looms, will Washington pull it together? Will he ever be honest with himself?

At the center of "Flight" is a handful of strong and interesting performances. Without a doubt, this is one of Washington's finest roles. Even those that may not love the film itself would have to see the complexity, despair AND strength in this multi-layered character. But director Robert Zemekis (Oscar winner for the more fanciful Forrest Gump) has assembled a first rate cast to back up this bravura leading man. Don Cheadle displays a brash assuredness as Washington's attorney, Bruce Greenwood is earnest and supportive as an important ally, and John Goodman is over-the-top but effective as his drug hook-up. In smaller roles, Tamara Tunie, Nadine Velazquez, and Brian Geraghty all score pivotal moments as members of the flight crew on that fateful day. And then we have Reilly. The British actress is given an extremely meaty role as a ravaged soul fighting her way to salvation.

As an addiction drama, "Flight" is an in-your-face and provocative illustration of a man in denial. The movie also looks at faith in a way few studio films do. I appreciated that the movie (and its screenplay by John Gatins) doesn't shy away from complex issues. It is more thoughtful, more contemplative than you might initially be aware of. I'm not sure, in the end, that I believed some of the final moments and decisions. But in many ways, this was more about the journey than the destination. As long as you aren't expecting an action movie, "Flight" has a lot to recommend it. It isn't perfect, but this contemplative drama will give you a lot to think about. And it also boasts a slew of terrific performances. KGHarris, 12/12.
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62 of 77 people found the following review helpful
on February 13, 2013
this movie shows how tragically and deeply alcohol abuse can ruin lives that otherwise have such promise....and Denzel always delivers....
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29 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on February 28, 2013
Unbelieveably real story here..I had to watch it twice,,,This movie imacts the mind and soul in so many ways. Brace yourself for an extremely realistic "real life" drama Superb acting, and screenwriting....it will grab you, and stay with you for a long time!...It is adult/mature in it's nature...so, watch with caution...it pulls no punches....
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
I'm going to say there might be MINOR SPOILERS in this review but if you've seen the trailers, you've seen most of what I write about.

There is a pee-your-pants airplane crash to start the story off but what this movie is about - truly about - is substance abuse and it's effect on the abuser and those around him/her. And it is one of the better movies I've seen on that subject.

Pilot Whip Whitaker miraculously lands his damaged plane, while heavily under the influence of more than one addictive substance. Does it matter that no one believes that ANY other pilot could have landed this plane, sober or not?

Washington plays a gut wrenching role of a man struggling with his demons. Masterful.

There were some excellent co-stars in the movie, too. Kelly Reilly, Don Cheadle, John Goodman were just some of a superb cast. Reilly especially in her role as Nicole, who has her own demons to fight, was splendid.

NOTE: There is some nudity in this movie and excessive alcohol and other substance use.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on February 17, 2013
I have been sober for over a decade, however watching the struggle that Denzel's character was experiencing with his decline in his addiction was so spot on. Watching him hit his bottom will touch many alcoholics, sober or not. Mostly because we can relate.
This was an excellent movie.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on March 20, 2013
Extremely powerful movie. Make sure the kids are out of the room...wow (opening scene in particular)!! Denzel nails this role.
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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on February 24, 2013
I had seen the trailers and read the reviews, so I knew I wanted to watch this movie. However, I didn't really get to it until Denzel was nominated for an Oscar for his role.

I have seen Lincoln and agree that Daniel Day Lewis did an amazing job, but I think Denzel actually does a much better acting job in this film. His portrayal of the arrogant, miserable, alcoholic pilot is entirely believable and nearly flawless. The script is great, but I think Denzel did some serious work to get into character and has given us one of his best career performances.

Highly recommended.
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