Thursday, 27 February 2014
Director Robert Zemeckis has his ups and downs; films like Polar Express do not do him credit. On the other hand, he's in charge of some glorious stuff like Forrest Gump or Back to the Future. So yeah, overall, I was willing to give him enough credit to watch Flight on Netflix. Besides, who can resist a movie that puts bare boobs in front of my eyes on its very first shot?
Those boobs belong to a flight attendant after a night of boozing, sex and illicit drugs with Captain Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington). The two find it hard to get up in the morning, but getting up is what they just manage to do as they arrive on to their next flight assignment. It is there that things go wrong: not with the alcohol Whip slips here and there while piloting, but with their airplane breaking up on them in a very dramatic manner.
All seems lost, but Whip pulls the unimaginable (and the probably the physically impossible abroad a passenger jet) and manages to land his plane with minimal casualties. In other words, he's a hero - and an injured one at that.
Only problem is the inevitable investigations that will follow a commercial flight crashing with human casualties. Which is where the main story of Flight kicks in, the story in which Whip has to pull out even bolder manoeuvres than before in order to pull attention away from his vices. Will he manage to pull it off and deceive [almost] everybody? How far down the ethical ladder will he need to go to achieve that? More importantly, should he be forced to pull this off in the first place, being the hero that he is, the saviour of close to a hundred people?
Whereas Flight's first act presents us with a very dramatic, action filled affair, the follow up discussions on the virtues of Whip's alcoholism tends to drag into that predictable "we've seen it all before" realm. Quickly enough I learnt to expect the bottle to step in and ruin everything just when it seemed there's a hope for Whip. Yet the moral question at hand, that of taking responsibility for what one does and standing up for it still prevails. Flight explores several avenues of discussion, further expanding its NPC character from bare boobs into scenes that do not shy from portraying religion in negative light. For example, the scene in which Whip visits his copilot, a devout Christian accompanied at his hospital room by an ultra zealous wife, is outright scary.
When adding it all up I found myself regarding Flight as a tale of two movies. The first is a short action movie of a glorious scale, a scale reminiscent of the majestic train crash scene opening The Fugitive. The second is a lengthy discussion that, while offering some potency, overstays its welcome. Add the two up and you're left with a partly interesting movie that could have / should have been something truly special.
Overall: I will give this tale of two films 3 out of 5 crabs, mostly because that opening action flick is truly awesome.