In my A Christmas Carol review recently I asked the question, what has happened to Robert Zemeckis’s brain? Finally though, he now leaves the awful “realistic” CGI animation and returns to direct his first live action film since Castaway in 2000. Yeah, it has been that long.
Unfortunately, I am still asking “What has happened to his brain,” as Flight is complete garbage.
Denzel Washington plays airline pilot Whip Whitaker, who is a blazing alcoholic and cocaine addict, yet his lifelong ambition of lying about this has never been found out. But when his plane crashes and his skills prevent everyone on board from dying, his true nature is called into question.
I hate, hate films that deceive me. Flight‘s trailer did not show this film for what it is. The trailer made it out to be Washington’s character battling to clear his name since he saved one-hundred people. It doesn’t mention a slew of laborious drinking binges, drug-use and our protagonist being a total waster, devoid of any likeable traits. Most of this film is constructed of separate scenes were Whip is offered help to clear his name, only for him to shoot them down in angry arguments that often rise from nowhere.
The film opens with two disjointed plots: Whip’s last flight taking off and the crash, and a herione addict who’s sick of being an addict only for her to quickly overdose anyway. What does this have to do with anything? Well, Whip has a relationship with this girl after meeting her at the hospital. So, she’s his redemption right? Nope. Nothing of the sort happens, he just mopes and gets drunk consistently.
I… I cannot comprehend how unpleasant this film was to watch, as a story and as a piece of film making. The protagonist is completely unlikeable, the supporting cast appear to come and go without any influence on him or with any credibility to themselves. The conclusion is a giant “Well, duh!” moment; a predictable narrative black hole as I spent the entire film thinking “get on with it”. I have no idea what genre this is; it leaps from serious drama to black comedy to investigative thriller, and as such, the tone is completely lost.
I wasn’t engaged with the character, I had no emotional response to anything he did because all of his actions were negative and only seem to prove he was a useless and reckless addict, to the point where his incredible piloting skills (his only redeeming act at the start of the film) felt worthless! Then there was John Goodman. Who appears to have wandered into the wrong movie.
Seriously, how Denzel can be nominated for an Academy Award with this performance is beyond me; it has to be his least engaging and laziest part yet. Unstoppable, his film about a runaway train, is better than this!
Additional Marshmallows: You may have noticed, Flight isn’t worth your time and certainly not your money.
You may be wondering why it even has 1.5/5, well, that’s because the actual plane crash (you know, the only part that is shown in the trailer?) is spectacular!