Robert Zemeckis' Flight is an immaculate presentation of two wrecks -- the plane crash referred to in the title of the film and the absolute spiraling devastation of the life of the man piloting the aircraft. Denzel Washington, a true force of nature and as disciplined an actor as any when he's on (and even when he's off, most of the time) carries this film on his broad back from start to finish. He owns this picture of a man whose life is a disaster of the first magnitude but who's fighting tooth and nail to keep from acknowledging that it is. Washington's pitiable Whip Whitaker is paired with the lovely British actress Kelly Reilly, who plays the drug addicted photographer / "masseuse" Nicole, a woman Whitaker meets in the hospital after the plane crash. She's recovering from a heroin overdose, and they meet in the stairwell where fiending paitents meet to smoke. An intriguing monologue by an addling cancer patient (James Badge Dale) who wanders into the stairwell sets Whip and Nicole on paths of redemption and loss. In addition to Reilly and Dale, Washington's riveting performance is matched by Don Cheadle's as his attorney, Bruce Greenwood's as the pilot's union rep and John Goodman's as Whitaker's ponytailed dealer. Zemeckis' recreation of the crash is a marvel and his direction of the NTSB inquiry that closes the film is equally as mesmerizing. Highly recommended.


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