The Reel Deal
A Reel Deal Film Review
By Tyler Malone
Reel Rating: 1 out of 5
“CRASHING AND BURNING”
Flight was a complete miscalculation on the part of just about everyone involved, including myself for having made the mistake of going to see it. Part preachy afternoon special, part unfunny comedy, part uninspired drama, this insipid wannabe-Oscar-bait about a plane crash crashes and burns as quickly as its titular flight. Almost an hour before its cliché climax in a courtroom–a finale done about a million times better in the equally unmemorable but somehow slightly less annoying Affleck-Paltrow plane crash romcom Bounce–the protagonist, pilot Whip Whitaker, played by a competent but somewhat lackluster Denzel Washington, has to make a major life decision that seemed to have some people in the theater on the edge of their seat. Not I. At Whitaker’s crucial juncture, I realized that whatever choice he made, I couldn’t care less. I wasn’t invested in the character whatsoever. I was passively watching his plight, hoping more for the credits than a happy (or unhappy) ending.
Admittedly, filmmakers don’t owe their audience likeable characters. A pet peeve of mine is when, upon exiting a theater, I hear some fellow moviegoer saying that they didn’t like the film because there was “no one to root for.” Sometimes there isn’t supposed to be, and doesn’t need to be, a character to root for. In fact, I don’t care that I didn’t feel compelled to root for pilot Whip Whitaker. It wasn’t an issue of liking him or not.
What filmmakers do owe their audience is an interesting story that has some compelling characters. Not only did I not particularly like Whitaker–which is neither here nor there–but I didn’t care about him or his story. Once the plane fell from the sky about 30 minutes in, I grew increasingly detached from the film with each passing minute (and, in total, the film is a whopping 149 minutes). The writing is stale, adhering to just about every Hollywood cliché in the book–well, those 149 minutes don’t fill themselves people!–and the decent acting performances just weren’t enough on their own to make this leaden Spruce Goose soar. Denzel Washington is a fine actor, but Whitaker’s wild swings of personality just felt like Denzel doing his “greatest hits” on autopilot.
Though Denzel’s Whip Whitaker may have saved many of the passengers on the flight within the film from almost certain death, I wished he could have saved me instead from this catastrophe in celluloid, which nosedives almost immediately after takeoff.
Flight is a film directed by Robert Zemeckis and written by John Gatins. It stars Denzel Washington, Don Cheadle, and Bruce Greenwood. An airline pilot saves a flight from crashing, but an investigation into the malfunctions reveals something troubling.
Written by Tyler Malone
Photography Courtesy of Paramount Pictures
Design by Marie Havens
Film Still from Flight, Photography Courtesy of Paramount Pictures