As the awards season is baring down, it's no shocker that some of the nominated films are now rolling out on DVD and Blu-Ray for the masses to enjoy. Available today, "Flight" is an intense human drama that keeps us on the edge of our seats in more way then one as the fight for the human spirit is on full display.
Directed by Robert Zemeckis
"Flight" tells the redemption story of Whip (Washington), a commercial airline pilot who pulls off a heroic feat of flying in a damaged plane, saving 98 lives on a flight carrying 106 people. While the world begs to embrace him as a true American Hero, the everyman struggles with this label as he is forced to hold up to the scrutiny of an investigation that brings into question his behavior the night before the doomed flight.
I can't remember the last time we had a protagonist in a film that was likeable yet still a horrible unrepentant bastard as we did in "Flight", and when it comes down to that was the entire crux of the whole thing. For his first live action film since 2000, director Robert Zemeckis working from the script by John Gatins put together a thrilling story of redemption that never panders to its audience instead painting its picture in a very big light. Zemeckis is always very aware of scale and in particular in the crash scenes the action unfolds very meticulously as every single frame is of the utmost performance. When we get further into the story, he paints the polar opposite of Whip's moment of heroism and dare I say perfection as the film gets darker and darker while Whip wrestles with his various demons and his character flaws are on full display. The script by John Gatins, is electric as we are never expected or put upon to actually like or excuse Whip's actions, it walks the rare line where a contemptible character can still generate a fair amount of pity. It just all plays so well because it never has moments that feel manufactured or Hollywood, for better and for worse it all unfolds in a very real fashion and that is really where this films power lies, in its flaws. None of which were on display more than its characters especially its lead performance from Denzel Washington.
As Whip, Washington brilliantly humanized the character and brought real passion to the role as his alcoholic, drug addicted pilot would subsequently burn all his bridges and ultimately himself as this was a man on the brink who simply couldn't take the deception on any level anymore. It takes skill to make him sympathetic and an unrepentant son of a bitch all at the same time, but Washington makes it seem easy in one of the performances of his career. Washington is surrounded by a great ensemble cast, including John Goodman, Bruce Greenwood, Kelly Reilly and Don Cheadle who all exists in his universe in one way or another but it all comes down to Denzel and this gripping portrayal of a man fighting tooth and nail with his own inner demons and not necessarily winning.
Picture and sound quality on the Blu-Ray were excellent as expected and the special features on this Combo Pack release include 2 behind the scenes featurettes about the origins and the making of "Flight", a featurette behind the spectacular plane crash in the film and Q&A highlights.
"Flight" really is a special kind of film, because even though these kinds of stories have been told before, they are rarely done without any maudlin overtones or attempts a delivering a social message. Instead it takes a horribly flawed individual, puts him in the most extreme of circumstances and proceeds to strip him emotionally bare. Just phenomenal story telling anchored by one of the best working actors living today.
5 out of 5 stars.
"Flight" is now available for rent on DVD & Blu-Ray at video stores all across the country, you can also rent via most major on demand providers. You can also find it available for purchase at all major retailers like amazon.ca, HMV and iTunes.