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Flight (BLU-RAY)

Flight

Movie
Studio(s): 
Director(s): 
Genre: 
On Blu-Ray: 
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Grade:
A
Running Time: 
2 Hours, 18 Minutes

Despite the prominence of it in the trailer and all the marketing, Flight, starring Denzel Washington, is not about a plane crash. Instead, director Robert Zemeckis and writer John Gatins give us a character study of a man suffering his addictions and personal choices in the face of a tragedy and a miracle.

Don't get me wrong though, the beginning of the film features an incredibly constructed series of scenes depicting the take off, flight and crash of an airplane. I cannot image what this was like in the theater, but at home on my 85 inch screen and the beautiful Blu-ray I probably get as close as I'm going to come. The sequence is mind numbing - fantastic, wonderful and blindingly terrifying. I gripped the arm of the couch with sweaty palms as I watched the event unfold. Zemeckis past few years in computer animation and motion capture have really raised his ability to capture a scene, and when the scene is populated with actors of Denzel's quality, it is mesmerizing, even as you want to look away.

Although the opening is critical to the film, the real movie doesn't begin until Whip (Denzel Washington) wakes up in the hospital. He is a hero. The pilot whose quick thinking and amazing skill saved the otherwise doomed flight. 102 souls on board and 96 of them survive to tell the tale. The only crack, the flaw in his image is that while he was busy being amazing, he was also drunk and high. Whip is an alcoholic who also indulges in other drugs at time. He's apparently been that way for years, and now he has to face that although he performed a miracle at the stick in guiding the plane down, he's likely to be crucified for being under the influence while he did it.

Denzel is amazing in this role. He manages to capture the nuances of a man coming to terms with his addiction while simultaneously embracing it as an escape. And he's not alone here. Kelly Reilly plays Nicole, another recovering addict, who has finally hit her own rock bottom and wants to rise up and bring Whip with her, though he may not be ready. John Goodman shows up a time or two to steal scenes as Harling Mays, Whip's drug dealer best friend. And so many more good performances.

That said, I came to this movie forewarned. Had I gone in looking for a film about a plane crash I'd likely have been terribly disappointed at the hour and a half or so about addiction, the investigation and the pending hearings. Instead, I came to Flight looking for a movie about a man who was the pilot in a miraculous plane crash, and I got it.

The Blu-ray has a great quality picture and sound. It has a handful of behind the scenes extras about how the film came to be written and made, the actual making of the film, and the best one, in my opinion, about how they filmed the plane crash itself. I would have really enjoyed a feature length commentary on Flight, but it isn't here. A shame.

Even so, Flight is definitely worth seeing. Maybe even more than once.

 

Review by Jason Pace
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