If you've ever checked the pilot of a flight to see
whether they had a big night, it's possibly not a good idea to
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Cast: Denzel Washington, Don Cheadle, Melissa Leo,
Kelly Reilly, John Goodman, Bruce Greenwood
4 stars (out of 5)
Packing on the pounds and looking every bit the lounge
lizard, Denzel Washington is pilot William ''Whip'' Whitaker.
With a weakness for flight attendants, Class A stimulants and
alcohol, it's going to take some pilot to function under such
substance abuse, but Whip isn't any ordinary pilot.
He's a dreadful alcoholic in denial. Supplementing his
cocaine breakfast with an in-flight vodka, Whip soon finds
himself at the helm of a broken plane. Heading to the dirt at
a great rate of knots, his instinct kicks in and he convinces
his kooky co-pilot to pull off a piece of flying that should
have been in director Robert Zemeckis' early Back to the
Aside from the slightly congested opening third where
parallel lines of action are forcibly thrown together, Flight
is a riveting ride, owing to Washington's cocky
vulnerability. Barely hanging on to life by his deluded
heroics, Whip is the character you want to cheer for, but he
is also only one drink away from total carnage.
Flight doesn't always conform to the type of dramatic
stereotypes and over-reliance on effects that Zemeckis is
known for either. Borrowing a little from his personal
interest in aviation and addiction, Flight's strength is a
script that doesn't proselytise and Denzel Washington's
Best thing: John Goodman's wickedly amusing cameo as
drug dealer Harling Mays.
Worst thing: Not finding room in the script for more
See it with: No need to get on a plane in a hurry.
By Mark Orton.