Looking Back at 2010s Films: Flight (2012)

8 Nov

By Tanner Smith

I didn’t know much about Robert Zemeckis’ “Flight” when I first saw it. I knew it starred Denzel Washington, I knew it involved a plane crash, and more importantly, I knew it was directed by Robert Zemeckis (“Back to the Future,” “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” “Forrest Gump,” “Cast Away”); I was going to see it regardless!

What I got was…a two-hour movie about Denzel suffering addiction and its terrible effects. But even when it catches me off guard, at the end of the day, it’s a very well-done, disturbingly effective portrait of an otherwise decent man and the damage that occurs from his alcoholism.

What gets the film started is a realistically terrifying sequence in which Denzel’s pilot manages to use his skills to pull off something that not other pilots could’ve pulled off. He loses only a few people in the crash, saving over a hundred others. But it turns out he was intoxicated and high at the time he was flying, raising more questions about what happened and heightening the issue.

From that point on, it’s an uncompromisingly dark picture about how Denzel must stay clean and never look back or face consequences set up for himself long before.

I got so into this story that when it comes to a crucial point in which Denzel mustn’t drink and yet faces temptation involving a hotel refrigerator, I was nervous as to what was going to happen.

And of course, as with any Denzel performance, he’s giving it his all. He was nominated for an Oscar for his performance here, and for good reason.

Also great is Kelly Reilly as a younger woman who is addicted to drugs and has already hit rock-bottom, hoping for a chance of recovery. I was just as invested in her story as I was in Denzel’s.

The film is rarely an upper, but it’s consistently compelling and packs a dramatic punch.

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