James Smith’s quick-fire insight into the world of movies exclusive to style-review.com

Here he checks out Flight, a tense action drama starring Denzel Washington as an airline pilot, not only battling at the controls of an aircraft, but also with his own addiction.

Directed by Robert Zemeckis

Starring Denzel Washington, Bruce Greenwood, Kelly Reilly

Denzel Washington seems to have a talent for playing flawed professionals with drink problems, and drawing parallels with the acclaimed Man On Fire, in Flight he portrays an airline pilot on a downward spiral in more ways than one: firstly on an airliner in an uncontrolled dive, and secondly within himself as he descends into addiction and alcoholism.

Flight is a real actor’s movie and if you’re looking for a reason why the Hollywood stars get big money, then here’s why.  Okay, there is some nerve jangling action, the storyline is solid, and there are enough locations and good looking people for director, Robert Zemeckis, to work around, but by far it is the acting that shines in this movie.  The gripping booze, drug-fuelled drama and airborne action in the first act could have doomed the rest of the movie to leave a classic fizzle out to the end credits.  But Flight makes no such mistake - it’s an all consuming study of human fallibility, all beautifully centred on the conformity and politics of the airline industry.

Washington’s on screen presence is a dead cert of course, but he ramps it up a gear in his portrayal of airline pilot, Whip Whitaker, a man on the edge.  His character delves into a seemingly impossible range of personality traits not often associated with pilots responsible for the safety of hundreds of passengers.  And yet the scariest thing of all - it all comes across as real and believable.

Despite the serious subject matter, Flight is entertaining with some skillful subtle humour courtesy of Washington and the cast that includes the excellent John Goodman as Harling Mays - the pilot’s buddy and walking supermarket of banned substances.  With an array of superlative performances, it’s criminal to highlight any one actor, but hey, let’s commit a crime: check out Bruce Greenwood as Whip’s faithful, but much harassed airline colleague, Charlie Anderson (and if you need further proof of his capabilities, see Greenwood in Thirteen Days).

Flight is masterfully made, gripping, funny, astounding and proudly worthy of that terrible cliché: unmissable.

Review by @jsmithwriter