"The FAA and the NTSB took 10 pilots, placed them in simulators, recreated the events that led to this plane falling out of the sky. Do you know how many of them were able to safely land the planes? Not one. Every pilot crashed the aircraft, killed everybody on board. You were the only one who could do it!" Which is what is happening in Flight. This drama film directed and co-produced by Robert Zemeckis. The film's plot revolves around an airline pilot, Captain William 'Whip' Whitaker, who saves a plane from crashing and 96 out of the 102 people on board. But an investigation into the malfunctions reveals something troubling.
Robert Zemeckis entered negotiations to direct in April 2011, and by early June had accepted, with Denzel Washington about to finalize his own deal. 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, with Don Cheadle, Bruce Greenwood, and John Goodman joining later in the month, and Melissa Leo and James Badge Dale in final negotiations. Screenwriter John Gatins said in early October 2011 that production would begin mid-month. Flight was largely filmed on location near Atlanta, Georgia, over 45 days in November 2011. 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. 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, which was caused by a broken jackscrew. That crash had no survivors. The airplane in Flight, a two-engine T-tail jet airliner, appears to be from the same model family as Alaska Airlines 261, a variant of the MD-80. Many elements are lifted from the accident into the film, such as the cause of the accident, segments of the radio communication and the decision to invert the airplane.
The film stars Denzel Washington, with Don Cheadle, John Goodman, Bruce Greenwood, Kelly Reilly, and Melissa Leo. The performances in this film were all spectacular, Washington had portrayed one of his meatiest, most complex roles since American Gangster (2007), and he flies with it. Cheadle, along with Greenwood, gave solid and confident roles as Whitaker's confidants and moral compasses. Goodman gave an incredibly humorous performance as Whitaker's drug-crazed and 'hippie' friend. Reilly gave an incredibly warm and solid performance as Whitaker's tortured drug addicted love interest. Finally Leo, even though a small role, gave a strong and intimidating performance during the film's trial scene.
Flight is an engrossing story, told smoothly and well. It is one of the most intelligent dramas in years. The film absolutely works due to its emphasis on the human elements of the story, with an incredibly complex performance by Washington.
Simon says Flight receives: