I'm a huge fan of Robert Zemeckis, or, at least I was until he started doing all of the 3D animation work in the 2000's. I've never cared for that type of animation, and the stories were all kid's tales, so my love affair with Zemeckis took a hiatus. I still left a light on for the man, mind you. How can you not, when you're talking about the man who made the movie that got you interested in making movies? (Forest Gump, for those who haven't read it here before). I'm glad I did leave that candle burning, because he finally came back from the dark side, so to speak, with Flight, his first live action film in close to a decade.
Flight tells the story of commercial airline pilot Whip Whitaker, an alcoholic, drug using, out of control divorcee. In fact, we meet Whip in the opening scene of Flight in a dirty hotel room, a naked woman at his side, empty beer and liquor bottles everywhere, as well as drug paraphernalia. Whip goes from this, to flying a plane in a matter of a few hours, a job which he is OBVIOUSLY not in good enough physical or mental shape to take on. The plane takes a dive, and Whip, somehow, manages to crash land it successfully, with a very minimal loss of life. He's praised as a hero, until the evidence starts stacking up against him.
Flight isn't perfect, but I enjoyed it immensely, and, for a director who hasn't been in the live action arena for a long time, I thought Zemeckis's come back was as much as I could have hoped for. The cinematography didn't feel as clean as most Zemeckis films do, but I liked it a lot. Washington is always great when he's put into a great role, and Don Cheadle was awesome, as well, as Whitaker's lawyer. My only two complaints would be the subplot where Whitaker falls in love with a recovering junkie he meets in the hospital, which feels like it was never taken to its necessary conclusion, and, really, could have just been stripped away completely, and John Goodman's drug dealer character. I love John Goodman, don't get me wrong, but this dude just seemed way to over the top, especially for his age. His flamboyance just came off as fake to me.
Two very minor things, though, in a comeback film that leaves me wanting a lot more from a filmmaker that I can't seem to get enough of.