Directed by: Robert Zemeckis
Written by: John Gatins (screenplay)
Starring: Denzel Washington, Kelly Reilly, Don Cheadle and John Goodman
Denzel Washington has an uncanny knack for throwing away his lines while still allowing them to register emotionally on his face. This tactic serves him quite well in Robert Zemeckis’ Flight because the character he portrays, the alcoholic airplane pilot Whip Whitaker, would be much too volcanic and ineffective if he was played in a straightforward way. In Washington’s hands, he transforms into a wounded maverick lying his way out of a situation he had no control over.
Unlike many of Zemeckis’ other movies, Flight avoids many opportunities for standard character development and perseverance. When a standard Orlando-Atlanta flight turns into a nosedive at 30,000 feet because of mechanical malfunctions, Whitaker remarkably flies the plane upside down and stabilizes it for a safe landing. Of the 102 passengers on board, only six died when all of them should have.