“Flight” Closes NY Film Festival

Next Sunday night, the 50th New York Film Festival will come to a close after 17 wonderful, jam-packed days with the world premiere of Paramount’s big 2012 awards contender “Flight.”

The intense drama was drawn from an original screenplay by John Gatins (Real Steel) and made on an increasingly rare mid-range budget of $30 million. It is the first live-action film directed by Oscar winner Robert Zemeckis since Cast Away (2000) and the first film of any sort to feature real acting by two-time Oscar winner Denzel Washington since Training Day (2001).

The former spent the intervening years experimenting with motion-capture technology, and the latter spent them appearing in action movies. It’s good to have them back doing what they do best: telling stories about real people.

Like Cast Away, Flight begins by showing the audience a little about a busy man trying to cope with his life, then shows him experiencing a harrowing plane crash before devoting the rest of its screen time to focusing on how he copes – mentally and physically – with the aftermath of the events that he has endured, which have left him largely isolated.

In the case of Flight, the man is Whip (Washington), a first-rate commercial airline pilot who also has substance abuse problems. One morning after a rowdy night, he is in command of a plane with over 100 souls on board when it begins to experience mechanical failure. Rather amazingly, he manages to land it with only a few fatalities.

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