November 12, 2012


Drama is NOT dead! The new Denzel Washington movie “Flight”—about the aftermath of a plane crash—is living proof. Although the trailer is one of the BEST trailers I have EVER seen EVER (it’s really a “perfect” trailer), and although it portrays the film accurately, the film itself is not a “perfect” film. It’s a very good film, but too long and lacking in consistency. After an incredibly filmed, tense-to-beat-the-band action sequence (you only see a smidgeon of it in the trailer), and a graceful reveal of the full weight of the brilliant-but-addicted pilot’s (Denzel Washington) predicament, there are some incredibly slow scenes filled with nothing but bald exposition that could have been eliminated or at least shortened. Two hours and nineteen minutes=too goshdarn long.

CAVEAT: The film begins with many, many minutes of mid-range and close-up full-frontal female nudity. We’re talking groin-level camera angles (the actress walks right into the camera, lady-parts first). If this is not your cup of tea, you may wish to restrain and refrain from seeing “Flight,” or at least be prepared, look away for the first five minutes, etc.  I would love to know what the filmmakers were thinking here (besides exploiting a beautiful female form). This seemingly-minor character does become somewhat more significant toward the end of the film. Are we supposed to feel closer to her because we saw every part of her body (and very little of her face)? Are we supposed to feel that Denzel’s character was close to her because he saw (and “knew”) every part of her body? But their relationship seems to be nothing more than casual sex. To me, the immediate, in-your-face nudity was shocking and not pertinent to the story. Gratuitous female-only nudity. We get it without it: The boozy pilot is leading a dissolute life. (I hope this role isn’t indicative of any change in Denzel’s personal life. Remember when he wouldn’t even take his shirt off in a film?) The trailer gave no hint of the nudity and crudity (hey, that rhymes), so I didn’t check WHY it was rated “R” before I went to the cinema, but here’s the reason given: (you can always check the “why” of the MPAA rating on Rated R for Intense Action Sequence, Drug and Alcohol Abuse, Language and Sexuality/Nudity. Information for parents: Common Sense Media says Iffy for 16+

CAVEAT:  If you do not care to hear the F-word (and lots of other crude language) more times than Carter has pills, you may wish to restrain and refrain from “Flight.”

CAVEAT: If you object to massive amounts of substance abuse of every kind--sometimes glamorized, or at least with a possible takeaway of: “I can use. Heavily. And still lead a pretty normal life. And pull myself together when I need to. And look gorgeous. And function well enough in society. And still get the girl. And still get the guy. And always bounce back"--you may wish to restrain and refrain from “Flight.” Whip (Denzel Washington) is not the only one who uses without much consequence. He meets Nicole (Kelly Reilly, with her Marianne Faithfull/RitaTushingham 1960’s beauty always intact), a fellow addict who becomes his love interest.

“Flight” is out of the gates with a bang, then simmers, then cools off. I liked it less and less as it went on. The folks in my packed theater (mostly elderly) were silently riveted during the whole thing. BUT if you have to go to the bathroom during a film (which many did, including me), the film is--I repeat--too goshdarn long.

What is the film about? I would say blame, lying and addiction. But mostly about lying as part and parcel OF addiction.

Washington—although this is not the first time he’s played a heavy—gives a fresh, nuanced performance. Reilly is perfectly cast and utterly believable. Her strawberry-blonde hair is reminiscent of Jessica Chastain, but her meek and understated performance made me think that Chastain wouldn’t have been half as good in this role. Don Cheadle is pitch perfect as the top-notch lawyer called in to get Whip exonerated. Charlie (the always solid character actor, Bruce Greenwood) is on target as the pilots’ union spokesperson. John Goodman plays a small but quintessentially outsized carnival barker John Goodman role: Whip’s pusher. His visit to Whip in the hospital after the crash and ensuing monologue is a transgressive show in itself. Melissa Leo (as head honcho of Whip’s investigation, every so delicately trying to let him off the hook) is as you’ve never seen her before: all cleaned up, authoritative, leading the pack, and with amazing diction. Yeah, I know that’s weird, but it’s the first thing you notice about her character. She should be narrating audiobooks.

All of this being said, “Flight” is a TOTAL GOD MOVIE. God is EVERYWHERE. EXPLICITLY. And when we, the audience, have forgotten about Him, the filmmakers have not and keep inserting Him EVERYWHERE. Naturally, unnaturally, organically, ham-handedly, subtly, blatantly, seamlessly, awkwardly, innovatively, tritely: He’s always bubbling just below the surface, popping up in every conceivable religious image, wall-hanging, holy roller, humble believer, church steeple, spontaneous prayer, etc. And—refreshingly enough—just when you think someone is being portrayed as a stereotypical judgmental, self-righteous, priggish, brainwashed religious pinhead…they’re not! “Where was God in this tragedy?” is the resounding subtext and is dealt with from many angles.

An ATROCIOUSLY OBVIOUS, DISTRACTING, JARRING AND AMATEUR SOUNDTRACK. “Cue The Rolling Stones’ ‘Sympathy for the Devil,’ When The Character Representing Temptation Makes Their Entrance!” “Play ‘A Little Help From My Friends’ On The Elevator When Whip And His Team Head To The Hearing!” “Have The Character Sing Along With Joe Cocker’s ‘Feeling Alright’ When He’s NOT Feeling Alright! And Then Play That Song Every Time We Remember The Crash!” Truly awful. Worst soundtrack since “Miss Congeniality.” I’m NOT kidding. “Miss Congeniality” featured literally illustrative songs that were stopped and started mid-measure with no fades all through that film, exhausting the catalogue of every top bluesy hit imaginable in one film. It was so horrible that I’ve remembered it to this day, and “Flight’s” soundtrack is not far behind.

Will “Flight” garner Oscar nods, Oscars? Perhaps. Does it deserve it? Perhaps some individual performances. As a whole? Perhaps not.


--Denzel is just a 500%, consummate actor.

--This is an overtly PRO-GOD film. God is a good guy. God is THE good guy.

--The whole sequence of the flight and crash is amazing. It does not disappoint.

--“Flight” shows deep goodness in deeply flawed people.

--Some great scenes, sets and set-ups!

--The cancer guy on the stairway!

--“Flight” should enter the filmography of alcoholism films….

--Legal term for the whole situation in the film? “An act of God.”

--WAS the safe landing a “miracle”? Sure, why not? But it can also be GOD AND US WORKING TOGETHER. From the documentary script of the life of Blessed Fr. James Alberione ( ):

Alberione believed, as did St. Ireneaus, that “The glory of God is the human person fully alive.” He knew that God does not override or force Himself on our will. Alberione saw life as the interplay of God and us working things out together. In a striking way, Alberione was even able to describe rather precisely how this process works:

“God’s method is to … make one wait in peace until His time comes, to begin always from the bare necessities, to act in such a natural way as to be unable to easily distinguish grace from nature.

“We shouldn’t  force God’s hand. It suffices to be alert..and to strive in one’s various duties to employ mind, will, heart and physical strength.

 “The actions of a human being are so imperfect, unsound, inadequate and dubious that one is dutybound to put everything back into the hands of God’s Mercy and to allow oneself to be guided.”

Alberione said that he was a “half-blind man who is being led, enlightened from time to time so that he can proceed further. God is the light.”


  1. Why they gotta ruin it with the nudity??????

    Seriously, I'm tired of constantly having to nix films for my teens (and myself!) because they throw in nudity, sex, and the like. Doesn't leave much to see (pun intended).

    1. Anonymous9:07 PM

      shut the hell up. What is wrong with nudity? probably your teens are having lots of sex.

    2. Thanks for your contribution anon. It's a privilege to learn from your enlightened self.

  2. There's always waiting for it to come out on (totally legit service that expunges objectionable stuff). Don't know if they do rated R, though!

  3. Great tip! Thank you, Sister!!

  4. Haha.. Flight of fun, just a way bit longer.

  5. Moveis flight is given in the posy here. Useful post

  6. anyone know the name of the actor who plays the cancer guy from the staircase??