Flight could have been a truly great film, if only…

It started strong.  The first hour of Flight is captivating, tense and thought-provoking.  Denzel Washington is in top form and the flight sequences are nail-bitingly good.  Unfortunately, the film never seems to find the “story” it wants to tell.  It is nice to see Director Robert Zemeckis back in live-action and he still has some serious skills creating human drama, but I was never totally invested in this one as I was with some of his other films which I love–like Cast Away and Contact.

There were several narrative options it could have taken: A straight-up drama about airline politics (especially after a crash)–a truthful look into an alcoholic’s struggle with sobriety–a character study that explored the dichotomy of our society’s definitions of hero and villain or even a love story of two broken souls seeking a bit of solace.  Any of those would have interested me and with each possible idea I would get excited…but, none of those paths were taken.  Instead, we get an uneven, over-long spiral into self-destruction that never quite gripped me–emotionally or intellectually.  You are left with a series of dramatic moments that are never earned, therefore you are not impacted by them.

The performances are the reason to go see this.  Washington is easily one of our finest actors and this is a meaty role for him (I am sure there will be some Oscar buzz).  John Goodman is a much-needed breath of fresh (comical) air, anytime he is on-screen.   Don Cheadle and Bruce Greenwood are solid, as always.  The knock out performance though, belongs to Kelly Reilly, as an unexpected love interest.  She is vulnerable and broken and yet, strong and full of hope.  I am looking forward to see Ms. Reilly in more.

Overall, I can say Flight is a bad film…it has enough to be okay–but it could have been more.  If only…

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About nediunedited

Who is nediunedited? A lover of cinema since the age of seven! All kinds–all genres. Films (TV and Books, too) have shaped my life–they were my escape, my inspiration and even my first role models. I do not rate my films in the traditional sense (no stars, grades, etc.)–instead I give you my opinion and my take on it–I do not give traditional plot summaries either, because I want you to go in clear–ready for your own experience. There is nothing better than discovering a fine film, without any other influence. (Personally, when I want to really see something I practice media shut out–I refuse to watch too many trailers, viral promos, reviews, etc–I have been known to cover my eyes and ears in the theater during trailers–LALALALA!) That’s me–hope you come by and visit! I will definitely make the rounds and find some of you out there, too.

10 thoughts on “Flight could have been a truly great film, if only…

  1. Yeahhhhhh…. definitely could have been better. Personally, I feel it would have been a lot better if it had found a way to stick closer to the crash investigation and downplay the recovery angle. But at this point… you’d have to say that would undercut the entire movie, seeing as that was what it was. :( It had its moments, and it was still enjoyable over all… but I think you’re right, Nedi, this is an “If only”

    • Yup. :(

      I agree about the crash investigation–I was really interested in that angle. Everyone covering their asses and the coldness of it all. I would have loved a real look at our society’s definition of hero and how that contrasted with his personal demons.

      But, again…if only… :D

  2. Nice review! You know, this is a movie that the more I read about it the less interested I was. It sounds exactly how you described. I was reading a content description and I was amazed at the direction it seems to go. While I haven’t seen it, it does look like it left a lot of the table.

    • Indeed. For me, it did not have enough focus on what story it was trying to tell. It is still good enough and the first hours is really good, which makes the last parts more disappointing.

      Yet, the critic consensus seems to disagree with me–they love it. Oh well, that’s not the first time! :D

      Thanks!

  3. in response to your thoughts, I actually appreciate Zemeckis’ storytelling here in that it was a mix of “A straight-up drama about airline politics (especially after a crash)–a truthful look into an alcoholic’s struggle with sobriety–a character study that explored the dichotomy of our society’s definitions of hero and villain or even a love story of two broken souls seeking a bit of solace.”

    I’ve already seen tons of films that focus on just one of those 3 things. I didn’t want another. his blending of them all was pretty genius imo and garnered some pretty strong emotion at times.

    Flight is like a flight. Gripping at the beginning, turbulent at times in the middle, and exciting/relieving at the end!

    a Great and honest review. Thank you, btw, for linking to mine, esp since I saw it differently. appreciate that. I think it’s pretty awesome of you to share with your readers a review from the completely different side of the argument. truly.

    • Thanks for stopping by! I LOVE to debate film! For me, you can not be a movie geek and not like a good disagreement with fellow geeks. :D I have a friend who is my debate buddy–we’re actually sad when we agree because it’s boring (yet, awesome)!!

      So…Flight. I like your use of the title as a theme…flight. It does mean a lot. I did not hate it. I actually saw potential for the better movie that was in there. And yes–it was a mixture of all those threads–and yet, I wanted one to pull me in–make me care. That’s the danger of having too many narrative possibilites–they all suffer the loss of time…time to invest the audience. Instead, I felt I was left with a bunch of loose strings and caring a little for all but not enough for the whole.

      Again, so glad you shared your thoughts–hope to see you again!

      • AB.SO.Lutely! I feel the exact same way about film discussion. I often hope for opposing views because it is my belief that if 2 people are able to share their opposing views in a convo about a film, then both can learn more about the movie itself. I laughed when you said you and your buddy are often sad when you agree! haha I can relate, because if we all liked the same thing, it is rather boring. That’s what I love about cinema, it reaches to so many people in so many ways!

        I have a feeling we are going to get along very well by not getting along! I shall return! :)

  4. Nice review. Could have been more engaging, like Denzel’s performance, but then again, that’s why the guy is considered such an amazing actor. Every scene that he’s in, he just owns and shows us exactly why he is still the powerhouse force today, as he was known as back in the day.

    • Indeed.

      Denzel is amazing! He gives a nuanced performance and solidifies his awesomeness. :D It always impresses me how real and accessible he is–he makes it look easy.

      I enjoyed all the actors in this film–very solid ensemble. Just wish the film delivered all the way through.

      Later!

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