Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Robert Zemeckis: Flight


Taking a much needed breath of anti-animation fresh air, Robert Zemeckis triumphantly returns to live-action narrative filmmaking with his riveting, complex new film Flight. Working from an excellent script by the talented John Gatins, Zemeckis aligns all the elements just right, delivering easily his best movie in over a decade.

Flight not only affords the director a chance to stretch his creative maxims into regions he's never gone before, but also gifts Denzel Washington one of the strongest roles of his career; he is thankful in gifting the audience, in return, one of the richest, most challenging performances of his in some time. The plot, regarding an alcoholic, drug binging pilot and his moral confliction after he saves the lives of passengers and crew with quick thinking, harks back to the days of morally ambiguous, adventuresome, and crafty American filmmaking of the 1970's.

Zemeckis, in solid conjunction with his stellar cinematographer Don Burgess, multi-faceted editor Jeremiah O'Driscoll and longtime collaborator, the incomparable composer Alan Silvestri, weave a fascinating tapestry rife with questions of hero-worship, addiction, and media-mongering. Washington's conviction is spellbinding; we come to care deeply for Whip, and his fate. Solidly, Zemeckis and Gatins leave a lot of said questions unanswered.

A wizard of the 70s generation wunderkinds including Spielberg, Scorsese, Coppola, and Lucas, Zemeckis is best known for his fantasy strength in masterworks such as the Back to the Future trilogy, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Death Becomes Her, and Forrest Gump. With Flight, he achieves one of his subtlest, most mature and humane creations yet.

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