When I see a movie in theaters, I will write the five things you need to know about it.
5 Things You Need to Know About…
1. Despite a trailer that presents the movie as “an action-packed mystery thriller” centering around a plane crash, Flight is not a mystery, is not a thriller, and is not about a plane crash.
2. Director Robert Zemeckis’ last live action picture before Flight was 2000’s Cast Away (since he has exclusively made motion captured movies like The Polar Express and Beowolf). Like Cast Away (and Forrest Gump for that matter), almost the entire running time of Flight features a commanding (and perhaps career-defining) lead performance by an A-List actor.
3. The aforementioned lead actor, Denzel Washington as Captain Whip Whitaker, carries this picture in a way I am not sure another living actor could. Flight works because of his charisma, his complete stronghold of Captain Whitaker’s inner demons and battles, and through his commitment to the at times harrowing truth of Whitaker’s battle with alcohol and drugs.
4. Besides Mr. Washington, Flight features an array of supporting performances by traditionally strong actors that are either lots of fun but feel completely out of place (John Goodman as a hippy drug fixer), super compelling but come out of nowhere and go just as quickly (James Badge Dale as a cancer patient), or strangely subpar (I am looking at you Don Cheadle, Bruce Greenwood, and Melissa Leo).
5. Flight is a MOVIE that dives deep into the soul of one man, but only inspires because of Denzel’s brilliant craft and not because of story or the telling thereof. Flight and its mechanical failures kept a distance from my empathy and care and its brutal subject matter may cause many curious audiences to do the same.
David J. Bloom can be reached on twitter @davidbloom7 and writes about pop culture and the NBA for Bishop and Company. His weekly X Factor column appears on Afterbuzztv.com and his weekly THE CHALLENGE: BATTLE OF THE SEASONS Power Rankings can be read on Derek Kosinski’s ultimatechallengeradio.com.