Flight (2012 film)

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Flight

Theatrical release poster
Directed byRobert Zemeckis
Produced byLaurie MacDonald
Walter F. Parkes
Jack Rapke
Steve Starkey
Robert Zemeckis
Written byJohn Gatins
StarringDenzel Washington
Don Cheadle
Kelly Reilly
John Goodman
Bruce Greenwood
Melissa Leo
Music byAlan Silvestri
CinematographyDon Burgess
Editing byJeremiah O'Driscoll
StudioParkes + MacDonald Prods.
ImageMovers
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date(s)
  • October 14, 2012 (2012-10-14) (New York Film Festival)
  • November 2, 2012 (2012-11-02) (United States, Canada)
Running time139 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$31 million[2]
Box office$96,445,840[3]
 
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Flight

Theatrical release poster
Directed byRobert Zemeckis
Produced byLaurie MacDonald
Walter F. Parkes
Jack Rapke
Steve Starkey
Robert Zemeckis
Written byJohn Gatins
StarringDenzel Washington
Don Cheadle
Kelly Reilly
John Goodman
Bruce Greenwood
Melissa Leo
Music byAlan Silvestri
CinematographyDon Burgess
Editing byJeremiah O'Driscoll
StudioParkes + MacDonald Prods.
ImageMovers
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date(s)
  • October 14, 2012 (2012-10-14) (New York Film Festival)
  • November 2, 2012 (2012-11-02) (United States, Canada)
Running time139 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$31 million[2]
Box office$96,445,840[3]

Flight is a 2012 American drama film directed and co-produced by Robert Zemeckis starring Denzel Washington, with Don Cheadle, Melissa Leo, Bruce Greenwood, Kelly Reilly, and John Goodman. Flight is Zemeckis' first live-action film since Cast Away and What Lies Beneath, which were both released in 2000. It is also his first R-rated film since Used Cars in 1980.

Contents

Plot

Airline captain William "Whip" Whitaker (Denzel Washington) awakens in his Orlando hotel room with flight attendant Katerina Marquez (Nadine Velazquez) after a night of sex, alcohol, and very little sleep. He uses cocaine to wake up then boards SouthJet flight 227 to Atlanta. After Whip threads the plane through turbulence at takeoff, copilot Ken Evans (Brian Geraghty) flies the plane while Whip discreetly mixes vodka in his orange juice and takes a nap. Whip is jolted awake just before their final descent and the plane goes into a steep dive. After exhausting all other options, Whip rolls the plane into an inverted position to bring it out of the dive and then maneuvers the plane right-side up just before crash-landing in a field. He loses consciousness upon impact.

Whip awakens in an Atlanta hospital with injuries. He is greeted by Charlie Anderson (Bruce Greenwood), a friend who now represents the airline's pilots union. He tells Whip his heroism saved 96 of 102 souls on board. An NTSB official informs him Katerina was among those killed, and that Evans has been put into a coma.

Sneaking a smoke in the stairwell, Whip meets Nicole (Kelly Reilly), who is recovering from a heroin overdose, and promises to visit her when they leave the hospital. In the morning, his friend and drug dealer, Harling Mays (John Goodman), picks him up and sneaks him away from the hospital. Whip drives to his late father's farm, where he hopes to avoid the media. When he meets Charlie and attorney Hugh Lang (Don Cheadle), they explain that the NTSB performed a toxicology screen while he was unconscious in the hospital that revealed his alcohol intoxication and drug use, which could result in Whip going to prison on both drug and manslaughter charges. Lang promises to get the toxicology report ruled inadmissible on technical grounds, but Whip leaves in a fury and seeks out Nicole. He finds her skipping out on her lease and offers to let her stay at the farm.

Nicole and Whip begin a romantic relationship, but Nicole is trying to stay clean and sober while Whip's alcoholism progresses, and she soon leaves. The media discover his farmhouse, so he drives intoxicated to visit his ex-wife and teenage son, but they call the police. He begs to stay with Charlie, vowing not to drink before the upcoming NTSB hearing.

The night before the hearing, Charlie and Hugh check Whip into a guarded hotel room to ensure he does not get intoxicated. His mini-bar has only nonalcoholic beverages, but Whip discovers that the door to the adjoining room is open and finds alcohol in its refrigerator. Charlie and Hugh find him the next morning passed out and intoxicated. They call Harling, who brings him cocaine to perk him up for the hearing.

At the hearing, Ellen Block (Melissa Leo), the lead NTSB investigator, reveals that the cause of the plane's malfunction was a broken jackscrew in the elevator assembly. She commends Whip on his valor, pointing out no other pilots were able to land the plane safely under the same circumstances in simulations. She knows about his toxicology results but just as it appears Whip will escape culpability, Block raises the fact that there were two empty alcohol containers found in the trash on the plane; Whip knows these were his. Block points out that only the flight crew had access to the alcohol, and since only Katerina's toxicology screen showed alcohol, Block asks Whitaker whether he thinks Katerina may have been drinking on the job. Refusing to taint Katerina's good name, Whip admits not only that he was flying intoxicated but also that he is intoxicated at the hearing.

Thirteen months later, an imprisoned Whip tells a support group of fellow inmates that he is glad to be sober and does not regret doing the right thing, because he finally feels "free." He has kept in touch with Nicole and is reconnecting with his estranged son.

Cast

Production

Robert Zemeckis entered negotiations to direct in April 2011,[4] and by early June had accepted, with Denzel Washington about to finalize his own deal.[5] It marked the first time Zemeckis and Washington worked together on a motion picture.

By mid-September 2011, Kelly Reilly was in negotiations to play the female lead,[6] with Don Cheadle,[7] Bruce Greenwood,[7] and John Goodman[8] joining later in the month, and Melissa Leo and James Badge Dale in final negotiations.[9] Screenwriter John Gatins said in early October 2011 that production would begin mid-month.[10] Flight was largely filmed on location near Atlanta, Georgia, over 45 days in November 2011.[11] The film's relatively small budget of $31 million, which Zemeckis later calculated was his smallest budget in inflation-adjusted dollars since 1980, was due to tax rebates from Georgia and from Zemeckis and Washington having waived their customary fees.[11]

Gatins explained in a 2012 interview with the Los Angeles Times that the dramatic fictional crash depicted in Flight was "loosely inspired" by the 2000 crash of Alaska Airlines Flight 261,[11] which was caused by a broken jackscrew and in which the pilots briefly attempted to recover from catastrophic loss of control by flying the aircraft upside down. That crash, however, had no survivors.

Reception

Flight has received mostly positive reviews. The film has an approval rating of 77% based on a sample of 168 critics on Rotten Tomatoes.[12] The consensus states "Robert Zemeckis makes a triumphant return to live-action cinema with Flight, a thoughtful and provocative character study propelled by a compelling performance from Denzel Washington." Metacritic gives the film a weighted average score of 76% based on reviews from 36 critics.[13]

The Hollywood Reporter's Todd McCarthy wrote that the film "provides Denzel Washington with one of his meatiest, most complex roles, and he flies with it."[1] Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film four stars (out of four) writing, "Flight segues into a brave and tortured performance by Denzel Washington—one of his very best. Not often does a movie character make such a harrowing personal journey that keeps us in deep sympathy all of the way." He also noted the plane's upside-down flight scene was "one of the most terrifying flight scenes I've ever witnessed".[14]

The film received some criticism from airline pilots who questioned the film's realism, particularly the premise of a pilot being able to continue flying with a significant substance-abuse problem.[15]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b McCarthy, Todd (October 15, 2012). "Flight: New York Film Festival Review". The Hollywood Reporter. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/film-review-denzel-washingtons-flight-378838. Retrieved October 24, 2012.
  2. ^ Horn, John (October 20, 2012). "How the movie 'Flight' got off the ground". Los Angeles Times. http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/moviesnow/la-et-mn-denzel-zemeckis-ca-flight-20121021,0,2869289.story. Retrieved November 4, 2012.
  3. ^ Flight at Box Office Mojo
  4. ^ Kit, Borys (April 20, 2011). "Robert Zemeckis in Talks for Live-Action 'Flight' With Denzel Washington Circling". The Hollywood Reporter. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/robert-zemeckis-talks-live-action-180779. Retrieved October 20, 2012.
  5. ^ Zeitchik, Steven (June 3, 2011). "Robert Zemeckis finally looks to take 'Flight'". Los Angeles Times. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/movies/2011/06/robert-zemeckis-flight-back-to-the-future-roger-rabbit.html. Retrieved October 20, 2012.
  6. ^ White, James (September 13, 2011). "Kelly Reilly Takes Flight". Deadline.com. http://www.deadline.com/2011/09/paramount-and-robert-zemeckis-eye-kelly-reilly-for-flight-lead/. Retrieved October 20, 2012.
  7. ^ a b Morris, Clint (September 22, 2011). "Exclusive : Cheadle, Greenwood join Zemeckis’s Flight". Moviehole.com. http://moviehole.net/201145716-exclusive-cheadle-greenwood-join-zemeckis-flight. Retrieved October 20, 2012.
  8. ^ Fleming, Mike (September 28, 2011). "John Goodman Boards Robert Zemeckis' Flight With Denzel Washington". Deadline.com. http://www.deadline.com/2011/09/john-goodman-boards-paramounts-flight/. Retrieved October 20, 2012.
  9. ^ Kit, Borys (September 30, 2011). "Melissa Leo, James Badge Dale Booking 'Flight' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/melissa-leo-james-badge-dale-242728. Retrieved October 20, 2012.
  10. ^ Warner, Kara (October 5, 2011). "Denzel Washington's "Flight" Is 12 Years In The Making". MTV. http://moviesblog.mtv.com/2011/10/05/denzel-washingtons-flight-is-12-years-in-the-making/. Retrieved November 7, 2011.
  11. ^ a b c Horn, John (21 October 2012). "How the movie 'Flight' became airborne". Los Angeles Times. http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/moviesnow/la-et-mn-denzel-zemeckis-ca-flight-20121021,0,6995683,full.story. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
  12. ^ Flight at Rotten Tomatoes Flixster
  13. ^ "Flight". Metacritic. http://www.metacritic.com/movie/flight.
  14. ^ Ebert, Roger. "Roger Ebert Flight review". Chicago Sun-Times. http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20121031/REVIEWS/121039998. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  15. ^ Smith, Patrick (November 18, 2012). "Real Pilots Laugh at 'Flight'". The Daily Beast. Archived from the original on November 26, 2012. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/11/18/real-pilots-laugh-at-flight.html. Retrieved November 26, 2012.

External links