Friday, November 2, 2012
Like many critics, I often come down on Hollywood studio films. And a lot of the time it's justified. But after a week of seeing mostly smaller fare at the Philadelphia Film Festival (many of which were quite good), it was nice to see something with more money and proven talent behind it as PFF's closing night film. Honestly, this 'Flight' was a way better ride than I'd expected.
Without revealing any major plot turns, it's safe to say there are two major stories told here. One about a terrible plane malfunction, which is one of the scariest things I've seen on film all year (much more so than any lame horror film in 2012.) But the film is also about addiction. And while many films about addiction tend to grate on me, seeming like they belong on Lifetime, this one totally works from start to finish. It's gripping, and in no small part due to the talent attached. Director Robert Zemeckis ('Back to the Future', 'Forrest Gump', 'Cast Away', 'Contact'), after a decade working in animation, has once again proven himself a master at his craft with live action. (I admit I suspected his time had passed but I was very wrong.) And the cast, particularly Denzel Washington, but also John Goodman, Don Cheadle, Bruce Greenwood, and Melissa Leo all give superb performances. This drama is truly one of the best surprises I've seen during awards season.