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4.2 out of 5 stars522
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 21 November 2013
Fine cast and everyone one of them gives a good performance and this is half the film's problem, it focuses too much on DW without allowing the others much airtime. Deals with the issues raised in a realistic manner but IMO dwells too long on the effects on the main character midway through the film and it does drag somewhat at times.

What really does annoy me about this film is that it could/should have been so much better given the storyline and the cast. The accident investigation was very much in the background at times with the focus on the main character when in real life the two would have been much more entwined from Day 1.

DW is an excellent actor and without him I'm sure thins could have been a real stinker.
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on 27 December 2014
Three stars seems to rate in Amazonese as "It's okay" - rather a condemnation by faint praise, but it's a fair enough summation of this not-very-flight-based flick. As others have said, it's poorly titled - if titles are intended to convey something about the main drive of the film. In that respect it didn't - but it did cover the element of the plot with the major appeal - in that it's a real one-trick pony, leaving the rest of the running time (too much by far) to his struggle with addiction to alcohol and denial about his true status. The film is rounded up by a truly mawkish scene of breast-beating and soul-baring to his fellow cons in the jug. Which was portrayed as quietly and reverently received - not very likely, given that many of his audience would also be addicts of one sort or another.

Washington's done better than this - but that was a longish time back now; I wonder if his career will consist of flat and ordinary films with glaring imperfections like this one?

John Goodman has been praised by other reviewers for his portrayal of Washington's candy-man, complete with bermuda shorts and shades and rolled up bills to snort his lines - but was far too OTT for me, although he's made a career based on excessive delivery this time it was too much, way too slam-bam. His two scenes where the balance of interest shifted massively to Goodman to the detriment of the main plot line of the time, as it all went flat on his departure. I'd have expected Zemeckis to direct better than this given his tremendous record of massive hits (and a couple of real turkeys, to be sure)

I'd love to see Mr Washington in a beefy role with plenty of scope to show what he can do if given the chance - but it'd have to be better than this one.
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on 25 October 2014
Another powerful performance by DW, this time in a role where if not actually an unsympathetic character, certainly one about whom you can at best feel ambiguous. But sometimes not even ambiguous. Airline pilots know the rules. The man did not deserve to be a pilot, and certainly deserved jail from the first scene. Puts you on a knife edge, unsure if you want him to walk or burn.

In fact, what we have here is a sort of aviation version of “Rules of Engagement”. Obviously there are differences; the lawyer here is closer to standard legal slime, as opposed to Tommy Lee Jones’ honest hero, and eventually RofE unfolds and you get a clear answer.

Unlike RofE, this film doesn’t for the most part let its evidence out so slowly, so while there is suspense, it’s very different here. From the first scene, while he may have saved the passengers (and we don’t get enough evidence to be sure), he deserves to be jailed. Like the “hero” inept drug smuggler in “Midnight Express”, you (OK, I) cannot sympathise with him much if at all.

Really, the thing only comes to life in the second half. The flight itself is hilarious, like something in the “Die Hard” franchise, and thankfully the wonderful John Goodman’s revolting character appears only briefly, though his final scene is excellent, almost hilarious and recovering him somewhat. Kelly Reilly is good, but that element’s all very contrived. Bruce Greenwood as ever provides the soundest possible support to the whole thing, this time on our protagonist’s side, unlike RofE.

The hearing, despite what I thought to be technical inaccuracies is excellent, and the movie’s conclusion similarly good or even better.

I’m then left with a difficult score to make. DW’s performance, really good. The first half of the movie and its (IMHO) technical inaccuracies, two stars, no more. The rest, mixed four and five star bits. Overall, four stars, I think is fair. I like it, but it has too many poor parts for five.

Good movie, not what I expected at all, and I hope there are no spoilers here.
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on 20 January 2014
Denzel is back after a couple of years of average movies, with this, maybe his greatest performance since probably Man On Fire.

Although he has a really stupid name.

Whip Whittaker, is to put a finer point on it, a man who enjoys having a lot of fun, with narcotics and alcohol. after a night of debauchery with the said products, he pilots a routine flight, which has a malfunction toward the end of the flight.

After a miraculous crash landing, a toxicology report reveals that Whip was under the influence when the plane went down, and maybe he was the reason why the malfunction occurred.....

The first thing you realise when you see this movie, isn't just how great Denzel is, or how good it is to see Zemeckis back with live action, it's the really blunt regions subliminal undertones the film carries, once we see Whip.

He stark nudity at the beginning could indicate the Adam and Eve connotations Whip has, taking the forbidden fruit aka alcohol and drugs before the flight, and once the steeple comes from the church, we head into a story of redemption and forgiveness.

Colleagues begging Whip to attend church (choose the right path), and a really strange scene where the plane is flying over Reillys hotel when she is being rescued, is just some of the stand out scenes that make this film worth the watch.

Or you could class it as the formulaic drama most people will. Whip, is in denial, comes a bit better, goes a bit worse, karma catches up at the end, with added gravitas from support by Cheadle, Greenwood, and Goodman.

But it's more than that, it's a tense movie, with a really strong opening act, and a performance from Washington that really deserves the academy award.

If your not a fan of the lead, I doubt. Very much you will enjoy it as much as I did, but it's a solid drama, with a very predictable, but brilliant third act.
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on 9 August 2013
Don't misunderstand my rating: I didn't go in expecting a laugh-fest or an action film, and I knew exactly what the subject matter was. The star rating is for how much I enjoyed it, not the quality of the movie, which is undoubtedly very high.
Denzel Washington is extraordinary as the pilot whose addiction to a vast array of intoxicating substances doesn't stop him from getting in the pilot's seat of a commercial airliner: and then saving it during a dramatic crash, in a virtuoso display of sheer piloting talent that overcomes those addictions in the few seconds when it really matters.
Finding himself celebrated as a hero, his shock is palpable when he learns that events have already been unwittingly set in motion that will reveal his vices in all their ugly glory unless he fights to stop them...
There are many ways to handle the aftermath of a plane crash in a movie: 'thriller style' with heightened tension and drama, 'analytically' with a lot of focus on the facts and the technical details, or 'personally' by focussing on the emotions. Flight buries itself elbow deep in the emotions and doesn't let up more than a few times to peek up at the evidence steamroller trying to run Washington's character down.
In reality it's an addiction movie, which centres very powerfully on his character's struggles, and the struggles of the woman he befriends played by Kelly Reilly.
As an addiction drama, it's exceptionally well acted, filled with tense character beats, and the fact that Washington's character is so wilful and unpredictable leaves the impending Investigation a tense an imminent threat. Unfortunately it's also frequently hard, relentlessly downbeat viewing.
In its execution, acting and script decisions this is a brave and challenging movie.
Is it 'enjoyable'? I'll leave that up to you.
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on 11 June 2013
Brief synopsis (which contains a few spoilers): Denzel Washington plays a pilot who makes a miraculous landing to save the lives of most people on the plane, but repercussions follow because he was under the influence of alcohol and drugs at the time. The film is less about the actual flight and more about those repercussions.

The flight scene is improbable at best (and most likely impossible, although I'm no pilot or aircraft engineer) and, although we can suspend belief for the sake of a film, it's not really necessary to be so dramatic as it adds little to the story. The whole "flight" bit is really just a backdrop against which to tell a story about alcoholism and substance abuse.

Perhaps the film is trying to make us question whether a pilot who pulls off a miraculous landing is "justified" regardless of being drunk and stoned at the time. Should that cease to be relevant in the circumstances? Make your own mind up on that one!

Denzel Washington is good, as he usually is in films, and John Goodman provides decent - and amusing - support. The film engaged me throughout and you definitely want to see how things unfold, but I felt a bit misled by the title and publicity. I thought the film would be mainly about the flight and the pilot's skills in saving the plane, but that's really only a small part of it at the beginning. That doesn't mean it's a bad film because it's not, but if you are expecting a "disaster movie" along the lines of the "Airport" films, you will be disappointed.

So, in summary: decent film and certainly worth watching, but don't expect a "disaster movie".
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on 20 August 2014
The actual flight and what happens on it is riveting - but after that early start the film becomes tedious, drawn out, and dull. There's some unbelievable dialogue, unbelievable characters, and an unconvincing storyline. Sorry to be so negative - I don't usually write reviews, but was so disgruntled at the end of this (and somehow I stayed with it to the finish, though goodness knows why) that I felt I had to share my disenchantment. Mr Washington - what did you think you were doing.....
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on 27 June 2014
This film is not about aviation or has major scenes on an aircraft, apart from one. It's about a drunk alcoholic pilot who saves his passengers while high and intoxicated, and then has to explain his decisions and hide his addictions from his employer's and the law, and being an alcoholic it's very difficult for Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington) to do that. It's also a depressing film to watch and more similar to a Channel 5 midday movie than a Hollywood megabucks blockbuster. Starring Nadine Velazquez, John Goodman and Don Cheadle.
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on 21 November 2014
Denzel Washington doesn't make many dud movies but unfortunately for me this is definitely in the dud category.
Tedious and dull throughout, with few likeable characters.
One to avoid.
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on 14 December 2014
Had potential in the storyline but the alcoholism was drawn out and predictable and got so dull I had to fast forward to stay interested, I asked for a refund, will not be watching again
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