I'm definitely a sucker for Denzel movies.
One of the best actors in the business, Washington has a remarkable record of choosing good movies to be in. To be fair, not all of them are Glory, Training Day, or Remember the Titans, but nearly every movie he stars in is, at the least, a decent movie simply because he carries the movie. His latest movie, Flight, chalks up another mark on the solid Denzel movies list.
Flight is directed by Robert Zemeckis, most famous for directing Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump and Cast Away. This is Zemeckis' first live-action film since Cast Away in 2000. He has spent the last decade exploring new technology in computer animation, with movies like The Polar Express and Beowulf.
Flight tells the story of Whip Whitaker (Washington), a seasoned pilot with a less than admirable personal life. The movie opens to a routine flight into Atlanta. When the plane experiences mechanical failure, Whip's expertise and control kick in, saving almost every life on board the plane. Despite his miraculous efforts, six people die in the plane crash. Upon being released from the hospital, Whip learns that an investigation has begun as to the cause of the crash. This investigation leads to some shocking evidence about what really went on in the plane that day. Whip's story is paralleled by that of a heroine addict named Nicole, played by Kelly Reilly. Nicole has an interesting backstory herself, but she is in desperate search of legitimate reform and recovery.
As Walt and Nicole's paths cross, Flight begins to delve into its true subject matter: personal responsibility. Several key scenes throughout the film raise the question of divine sovereignty and personal responsibility.
Our two main characters are faced with huge questions of identity. Neither person's reality is particularly appealing, but how will the respond to that? It's much easier to point fingers and shift blame than it is to own up to the truth and take responsibility.
Hopefully that is enough to wet your appetite. The movie itself is not great, but it is really good.
Denzel handily carries the movie, giving a raw, emotional performance of a man who is so confident in one scene and chaotic in the next. The story itself is certainly played up to pull on your heart strings, but it is believable, engaging, and cohesive.
There is nothing in the movie that necessarily merits a trip to the theater to see it; it's just a well-made, well-acted drama. Zemeckis has proven several times over that he can really capture the weight of particular human condition. Flight is a fine example of that. It is not his best work, but it is a solid and promising return to the live-action realm of filmmaking.