Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington) is a man all about excesses; he pushes everything to the limit. His job is as an airline pilot, a high-pressure job, with the lives of hundreds of people in his hands each and every day. Before taking to the sky Whip needs a hearty breakfast, today’s breakfast consists of three lines of coke, and a three shot vodka and orange. On this day, Whip might not be on top form, not long after take off the plane get’s into trouble, and Whip is forced to crash the plane saving nearly all onboard. The media is quick to put the crash down to a plane malfunction, but the authorities are keen to pin the blame elsewhere, did Whip cause the plane to crash, or is he just a pawn in a bigger game.
Flight begins with the most awe inspiring, claustrophobic series of events as the plane falls into a considerably worse state. As the plane first struggles to reach altitude, then goes into free-fall the viewer is literally pushed to the edge of their seat.
What happens after the crash however is a much more serene turn of events, this is very much a movie of two halves, and what happens after the crash is a tale of addiction for both Whip and Nicole played by the talented Kelly Reilly. Nicole is battling her own demons, and exorcises those demons through drugs.
The flaw in Flight is the complete contrasts, those wanting a much more pacey piece of filmmaking will be a little taken aback by the contrast on the last three quarters of the movie. The running time of the movie is also a problem, and nearly two and a half hours, and all the main action completely out of the way in the first thirty minutes, it does seem like a lot of time is being wasted.
The performances are great particularly from John Goodman who sweeps into the movie on three occasions and in I any scene no more than three minutes. Writer John Gatlins gives all the very best lines to Goodman who plays a snappy badly dressed drug dealer.
Flight is a really enjoyable movie, but it is an incredibly top heavy one that really needs a nice back end kick in order to give a symmetrical feel to it. For such a powerful beginning, the wise talking will not be enough for many to give it the rounded feel it needs.
Flight in in UK cinemas from February 1st.