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DVD Review: Flight

February 5, 2013

Flight Blu-ray CoverFlight – A Paramount Pictures’ Release

DVD Release Date: February 5th, 2013

Rated 18A for coarse language, nudity and substance abuse

Running time: 138 minutes

Robert Zemeckis (dir.)

John Gatins (writer)

Alan Silvestri (music)

Denzel Washington as Whip Whitaker

Kelly Reilly as Nicole

Don Cheadle as Hugh Lang

John Goodman as Harling Mays

Nadine Velazquez as Katerina Marquez

Bruce Greenwood as Charlie Anderson

Our reviews below:


Flight DVD Review By John C.

***1/2 (out of 4)

At the start of Flight, Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington) wakes up drunk in a hotel suite.  He is the pilot for Southjet Airlines, and does a line of cocaine to shock his system out of the alcoholic haze, heading to the airport and boarding the plane for a flight from Orlando to Atlanta.  When the plane begins to malfunction, Whip successfully lands the aircraft in a field.  The media immediately sees him as an American hero, but the toxicology reports threaten to put him in jail.  His lawyer (Don Cheadle) wants to prove his innocence, even if it means forcing him to continue living a lie.  But there’s only so far you can go without actually facing your problems, as Whip starts to learn from Nicole (Kelly Reilly), a fellow addict and romantic interest who is trying to turn her life around.  But Harling Mays (John Goodman) is an enabler to his addiction.

Robert Zemeckis is in full command of the technical elements behind Flight.  The cinematography is striking throughout the film, and the soundtrack is another impressive element.  The screenplay by John Gatins offers a compelling look at crippling addiction, without compromising a powerful message of hope in the last few scenes.  Denzel Washington delivers stunning work that is both tragic and nuanced, and even as his character descends deeper and deeper into addiction, we just can’t take our eyes off of him.  With a gripping moral dilemma at the heart of its screenplay, Flight is a searing look at extreme addiction, that is carried effortlessly by an excellent and Oscar-nominated performance from Denzel Washington.  Please read my full thoughts on the film right here.

The Blu-ray includes three featurettes and highlights from a Q&A with the cast and crew.


Flight DVD Review By Erin V.  

**** (out of 4)

In Flight, Denzel Washington plays airline pilot Whip Whitaker, who miraculously lands the plane he is flying after a technical issue causes the engines to fail during the flight.  But while he is first seen as a hero, questions soon are put to him after a blood test reveals that he had alcohol in his system during that flight.  There is no doubt put to the audience – Whitaker is an addict.  But despite all that, simulation after simulation shows that no one else could have landed that plane as he did.

As his case goes to trial, we are left wondering where the right answers lie, and all the while rooting for this man to be able to overcome his addictions.  Flight is a film about how everything we choose or are faced with changes our lives for better or for worse.  Extremely well made, with excellent performances, it is one that is well worth seeking out now that it’s come to Blu-ray and DVD.


Flight DVD Review By Nicole

***1/2 (out of 4)

Flight tells a very moving story about one man’s attempt to break free from his addictions.  Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington) is an airplane pilot trying to do the right thing.  When a flight to Atlanta goes horribly wrong, he manages to minimize injury by using trick flying moves.  Out of 102 passengers and crew, only 6 die.  While Whitaker is initially regarded as a hero, his high regard is downgraded when it is discovered that he was both drunk and on cocaine while flying.  Now he must find a way to regain his reputation.

This is a believable film.  Denzel Washington plays Whip Whitaker with incredible sensitivity, and is certainly worthy of his Best Actor Oscar nomination.  The rest of the cast is great too.  John Goodman is particularly funny as his eccentric drug dealer.  The special effects are superb, with the plane crash sequence being quite realistic.  The plotline is intelligent, leading up to a court case that leaves the viewer in a state of suspense.  Flight is definitely a movie worth seeing.


Flight DVD Review By Maureen

***1/2 (out of 4)

When we first meet airline pilot Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington) in Flight, he is clearly under the influence after a night of drinking, drugs and sex with flight attendant Katerina Marquez (Nadine Velazquez).  Hungover or not, duty calls and the pair are scheduled to work their routine flight from Orlando to Atlanta.  A little hit of cocaine and Whip is alert and ready to fly.

Shortly after the plane takes off, the unthinkable happens – a mechanical failure sends the plane into a terrifying dive.  Director Robert Zemeckis puts viewers on the plane for a seat-gripping and anxiety-producing twenty minute ride.  The special effects are really good in Flight.  We’re right there along with Captain Whitaker as he engages in some amazing piloting and miraculously lands the plane with only six killed out of the 102 passengers and crew on board.

Hailed as a hero, there is shock when his hospital blood tests reveal an over the limit amount of illegal substances.  It’s in Whip’s battle to deal with his addiction and clear his name that Flight really takes off.  Denzel Washington’s performance as the brilliant but substance addicted pilot is absolutely Oscar worthy.  There is one scene where he faces off with a hotel mini-bar that is amazing.

The film also boasts other good performances such as John Goodman as Whip’s over the top drug supplier, providing scene stealing comic relief.  Bruce Greenwood as the union rep and Don Cheadle as Captain Whittaker’s lawyer are also good.  With exciting action at the beginning and a brilliant character portrayal by Denzel Washington, Flight is a trip worth taking.


Flight DVD Review By Tony

**** (out of 4)

The title Flight is almost incidental to the real story of the pilot Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington). Surviving on alcohol and cocaine from his flamboyant supplier (John Goodman), Whip manages to save the lives of 96 out of 102 people by boldly rolling a diving plane upside down to level it and rolling it back just in time for a crash landing.

Allegations of banned substances in his blood raise the question of Whip’s status as a hero or criminal. Despite efforts to quit drinking and maintain contact with his estranged wife and son, he falls off the wagon more than once. With the support of an old friend and union rep (Bruce Greenwood) and clever union lawyer (Don Cheadle) he may just be able to survive government hearings led by a thorough investigator (Melissa Leo).

Directed by Robert Zemeckis, Flight is a brilliant study of the struggles of addiction. Though he does all he can to infuriate us, Whip is still a fascinating character that we almost want to root for, thanks to Washington’s performance. The rest of the cast is also ideal, with Goodman stealing every scene he is in. The fine script is also well served by brilliant editing that provides a real sense of suspense and some unforgettable jump moments.


Consensus: Directed by Robert Zemeckis and brilliantly carried by an Oscar-nominated performance from Denzel Washington, Flight is an expertly crafted drama that offers a powerful look at extreme addiction.  ***3/4 (Out of 4)

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