In Flight Denzel Washington plays a character who is one heck of a pilot, but is also an alcoholic and a drug user. As the film opens he’s coming off a night of sex and booze with a stewardess, has a snort of cocaine just before the flight he’s piloting and a couple of vodkas once he’s in the plane. Then, when the plane develops serious mechanical problems, he calmly saves the day and the lives of most of the people on the flight in a visually impressive crash landing.
Now he’s a hero, but his control in the air doesn’t translate to control on the ground. He still needs to solve his alcohol problem. That’s what the film is mostly about. Somebody has to pay for the six deaths in the crash and he’s the prime candidate. It’s an excellent performance byWashington, worth the price of admission. The supporting cast, with John Goodman, Bruce Greenwood, Melissa Leo and Don Cheadle, is good too. I’m not sure the sideline romance with a junkie he meets in the hospital (Kelly Reilly) adds much.
The drama in the air is better than the drama on the ground after the crash, when the movie occasionally drags and uses a few too many Hollywood alcoholism cliches. The 18A rating is presumably due to some nudity at the begining. And it’s nice to see director Robert Zemeckis doing live action films again.
Rating: four deer out of five
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Arthur Christmas didn’t make it out in time for Christmas last year, but it’s early for this year and even available in 3-D.
Alf Cryderman is a Red Deer freelance writer and old movie buff.