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CLIPS Movie Review by Roger Tennis


by Roger Tennis

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On CLIPS In November, 2012


Denzel Wasgington in FLIGHTAirline pilot Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington) makes a life-saving landing, but an investigation reveals something troubling in director Robert Zemeckis' latest film.

TRIVIA: This is director Robert Zemeckis' first live-action movie since which 2000 film starring Tom Hanks?

cameracameracameracamera  (4 CAMS)        RATED R

On a doomed commercial flight, airline pilot Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington) makes a miraculous landing that saves many lives. His status as a hero is short-lived. An investigation reveals that drugs and alcohol were in his bloodstream and could result in criminal charges leading to prison. "Flight" is a gripping and, at times, harrowing chronicle of a life spiraling downward. Director Robert Zemeckis' dramatic return to making live-action films wouldn't be nearly as effective without the dynamic performance of Denzel Washington. His gut-wrenching portrayal rivals that of Nicolas Cage in "Leaving Las Vegas" and Jack Lemmon in "Days of Wine and Roses". An impressive list of supporting players adds to the intensity of John Gatins' script. Standing out in the crowd are Kelly Reilly as a recovering addict who connects with Whitaker and Don Cheadle as a confident defense attorney. John Goodman steals a couple of scenes as a drug-dealing friend of the addicted pilot. James Badge Dale has a commanding presence in only one scene as a cancer patient who won't give up smoking. Brief, but powerful. The strong ensemble cast also includes Bruce Greenwood, Brian Geraghty, Tamara Tunie and Melissa Leo. Opening with a frighteningly realistic airline crash, which will keep my feet planted on the ground for years to come, is a hard act to follow. The film's second act, a majority of its 138 minute length, follows the pilot's addiction and fall from grace. This act is nearly as riveting as the open, but fans of action-packed disaster flicks will most likely be disappointed. One minor criticism: some seemingly disjointed edits in the first third of the movie turn out to be relevant - just a bit confusing at the time. Even with its dark theme, "Flight" is an uplifting drama.