Action and thrills, jokes and funny stuff, or a little bit of romance. That’s what Hollywood serves us most of the time, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a good movie with a subject that’s a bit more loaded. And see! Robert Zemeckis, the man behind the Back to the Future movies as well as the big budget Forrest Gump, now brings us Flight, a movie that may be combining elements of the previous, but in the heart focuses more than anything on the personal drama that comes along with addiction.
Denzel Washington is Whip Whitaker, a very experienced pilot who has no issue what so ever taking on whatever comes his way, and as such he succeeds to make a plane crashland with minimal damage after one of the rudders breaks down in the middle of a flight. The spectacular landing with which only six people lose their lives gets a lot of media attention and the way Whitaker managed to save so many people makes that’s he’s almost instantly bombarded to the status of national hero. Only issue: the toxicology report that was taken from his blood at the hospital right after the crash shows Whip had quite an elevated level of alcohol in his blood, as well as traces of cocaïne, and that makes doubts arise about what happened preceding the accident…
Zemeckis starts with a very nicely filmed and spectacular plane crash, and this of course gets highlighted in the trailers, making you quickly think you’re going to see some disaster movie, while the part about the hearing then suggests this is a courtroom drama. Nothing is less true, however, these elements only get used in a smart way to build the foundations surrounding the character of Whip Whitaker (an excellent Denzel Washington!) in his struggle against the addiction. A drama, but luckily filmed in a non-nagging way, making the whole rise to a higher level and the achievements of the cast comes forth even more.
All in all we’re very impressed with Flight. Our expectations were quite low and we weren’t really looking forward to the next moralistic tearjerker, but Robert Zemeckis perfectly succeeds in keeping the atmosphere right at all times without having to open any bag of tricks with unnecessary drama, the cast does a great job, and the turning point in court comes as a total surprise. Magnificent movie that’s proof drama doesn’t necessarily needs to be boring.
The movie was shot with a Red Epic digital camera making that the transfer comes straight from digital source and you can see that. The image quality is reference material and has that perfect movie feel but without the grain. All is perfectly balanced and there are no compression errors what so ever. Also qua sound we get top quality. Most of the movie is focused on dialogue, but the start with the plane crash is spectacular and you can easily hear there was no budget cuts when it comes to the sound.
We get about half an hour of extras and there we get to see how Zemeckis and Washington get involved with the project (Origins of ‘Flight’ – 10 minutes), a short look at the production (The Making of ‘Flight’ – 11 minutes), information on the special effects of the plane crash (Anatomy of a Plane Crash – 8 minutes), and an 8 minute Q&A session with the cast (excluding Denzel Washington).