Flight sees Denzel Washington convey a static performance, one that has been hiding since Training Day.
It was a quiet night at the Oscars regarding the service behind Flight. What were the chances for Denzel anyway? Mixed with nominees such as Daniel Day-Lewis and Joaquin Phoenix (my winner). Denzel's performance in Flight does not need to be celebrated with an Oscar, rather a celebration between movie lovers global, because in my opinion, his performance is as good as anyone this year.
Flight begins with immediate impact, introducing a storyline that collaborates and connects smoothly with the consequences of decisions from Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington); an airline pilot with problems broader than family disconnection. The morning of a flight departing from Orlando to Atlanta would distinguish all possibilities in life, affecting characters of the movie both physically and mentally.
Waking up in a coma is always a bad sign. For Whip, it's about to get worse. Despite his majestic manoeuvre that saves the majority of lives on the plane, Whip is welcomed with the possibility of jail time following a blood test revealing traces of alcohol and drugs within his system.
However Whip is offered an ultimatum from Charlie (Bruce Greenwood); head of the pilots union who along with Hugh (Don Cheadle), offer to destroy the evidence behind the blood test in order to save the airline. Post crash, Whip struggles to overcome his alcohol addiction. In a bid to save Whip's dying reputation, Charlie consistently reminds him of his priority which is to avoid drinking, and avoid the media.
Flight evaluates the struggle of one man's character who, despite finding a likable persona in Nicole (Kelly Reilly), they both find themselves fighting a losing battle as Nicole seeks to throw a heroin habit, while Whip's rouge personality is destined to drag them both down, unless Charlie and the union can keep him sober, which is a task more daunting than the union could have imagined.
Robert Zemeckis's latest directorial creation is aimed to elaborate on two tragic angles of events; the crash and more so, the battle of human alcoholism. Robert brings out an unsympathetic character in Denzel that reveals an ecstatic performance and quite an original portrayal regarding the constant resemblance of movies we have seen from Denzel over the years. What is possibly Denzel Washington's best movie/performance since Training Day, his alcoholic persona is played out to perfection, while on the other hand Zemeckis introduces a level of romantic optimism with the chemistry of Whip and Nicole opening up a chapter in Whips life; one he has not embraced since his wife disowned him.
Flight is extremely centred on one mans battle, despite the inclusion of some crafty actors such as John Goodman who plays the humorous character of Harling; Whip's not-so trusty friend, more so his dependent drug supplier. John Goodman was clearly included to add a touch of comedy to a movie rounded up of depressing, dramatic sequences (quite appropriately).
Denzel has not featured in a story with this much craft and originality since Training Day and American Gangster. Movies such as Unstoppable, Deja Vu and Out of Time have advertised a stinking spell in his career. However I have always been a major fan of Denzel, and Flight really does showcase and once again rekindle the acting tools of a man who sometimes lacks the consistency of Hollywood choices.
Overall: Entirely focused on the presence of Denzel's character, Flight is an emotional thrill-ride, opening up a completely new side to Denzel's acting. Robert Zemeckis has created a dramatic story consisting of the battles of addiction, human ambition and that hope of potential romance, revealing a movie that can only be described as thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish.