This week’s film review: Flight (cert 15)

FILM

Flight

Cert. 15

3.5/5 stars

THIS one will have been written off by most as another million-dollar action vehicle for another suave leading man in need of a career testosterone boost, but Flight has been failed by its trailer and the misleading hype.

It is in fact a stirring, reflective film about much more than a plane crash (although the crash scene IS absolutely horrific and not recommended for those with even a hint of a fear of flying).

Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington) is the libertine pilot of the doomed flight whose unbelievable repose sees him perform Red Arrows-worthy aerobatics (in a passenger jet, don't forget) and land what is left of the plane.

Rather than be lauded a hero, however, Whip finds himself in a legal battle and the aircraft's mechanical faults are eclipsed by the pilot's own, crippling flaws...flaws his lawyer (Don Cheadle) must fight to hide from the public.

Whip certainly had more control over the situation than his clean-living, God-loving co-pilot, but it's the black and white of the law that counts and Whip and his team need to pull-off an Oscar-worthy performance to avoid Whip's personal battles overshadowing his mid-air heroics.

A cancer patient cameo, delivering the most affecting five minutes on film in recent memory, and a heartbreaking supporting performance from Kelly Reilly as caring addict Nicole, come together under master director Robert Zemeckis,(Back to the Future, Castaway) in a despondent story that manages to be more edge-of-your-seat than tearjerker.

Ashley Whittaker