"Robert Zemeckis must be praised for delivering an entertaining feature that is also quite different in tone from his previous efforts."

Flight is Robert Zemeckis’ first live action movie in 12 years, with the last being Tom Hank’s air crash survival drama Cast Away. Once again we are faced with the subject of an air crash, and although the trailer doesn't look entirely promising – with the possibility of the feature head down a predictable action/disaster/troubled-hero potboiler path, like many other films. However fortunately, it's not.

Most of the action is concentrated at the beginning, when airline pilot Whip Whitaker, played by Denzel Washington, has to deal with the consequences of a seriously faulty jet and manages to save almost all of the attendants and crew by performing a spectacular maneuver during the plane’s free dive and consequent crash in a country field. However the better part of the film takes place during the investigation on the crash, when Whitaker’s drinking problem and hell-raising lifestyle may just turn him from being a hero to a culprit.

Flight is dominated by Washington’s performance, for which the actor has received a well-deserved Oscar nomination for his efforts. He delivers a subtle portrayal of an alcoholic rarely seen on screen before, playing with the audiences emotions and sympathies, as one is never quite sure whether to be on his side or not, and this tension carries the film for all its duration.

Whitaker’s relationship with heroin addict Nicole, played by Kelly Reilly, offers more chances for drama, but Zemeckis and screenwriter John Gatins never fail to inject some humor, which derives from Whitaker's alcohol and drug induced shenanigans, and from his interaction with an unscrupulous lawyer, played by Don Cheadle, and particularly with a drug dealer, portrayed by an extraordinary John Goodman, in a performance that almost steals the show, despite being a mere cameo role.

The soundtrack follows Hollywood’s now consolidated trend of compiling lots of songs, while some pretty conventional original cues are used sparsely for transition and narrative enhancement. We hear a host of famous tunes, but for once they are not used as being simply ear candy.

A series of Rolling Stones songs anticipate every appearance by John Goodman, highlighting his drug smuggling business in an irresistibly funny way. All this making for a thoroughly enjoyable film, which is only slightly spoiled by an overly rhetorical ending.

Despite its faults, Robert Zemeckis must be praised for delivering an entertaining feature that is also quite different in tone from his previous efforts.