A dramatic detour from veteran middle of the road director Robert Zemeckis leads to one of cinema's richest and most nuanced portrayals of a functioning alcoholic, thanks largely to a terrific performance from Denzel Washington.
Fear-of-flying cinemagoers might want to skip Denzel Washington’s new film Flight, a dramatic detour from veteran director Robert Zemeckis, who has spent the last decade fiddling with performance capture technology in The Polar Bear Express (2004), Beowulf (2007) and A Christmas Carol (2009).
There are two good reasons: 1) it opens with a spectacularly visceral white knuckle plane crash sequence and 2) plants the unsettling idea that the next time viewers travel by flight, the person responsible for steering them through the skies might be three sheets to the wind.
The two-time Oscar-winning Washington has racked up another Academy nom for Flight’s Whip Whitaker, a protagonist more than a mite partial to a visit from Mr Booze and his mind-altering brethren. Setting the tone for a distinctly non-Zemeckis-like plunge down a druggy rabbit hole, Flight’s opening scene wouldn’t look out of place in something as bat shit crazy as Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998).
An alarm clock next to a glass of dark spirits rings at 7:14am; a naked woman emerges from a hotel room bed where Washington, looking flabbier than usual, wakes up, answers his phone and drinks the remains of a beer bottle opened hours ago. The woman passes him a joint. Whitaker mumbles “I feel a little light headed. Shoulda ate something” (one of the first lines of dialogue in Fear and Loathing is “I feel a bit lightheaded. Maybe you should drive”). Whitaker snorts a fat line of cocaine from a bedside table and —
He’s feeling alright. That’s the song playing as a schmickly dressed Whitaker, in aviators and commercial pilot uniform, struts down a hotel corridor wheeling his travel bag behind him. On the plane he orders “coffee, black, lots of sugar and a couple of aspirins” then inhales oxygen. In the spirit of the generous ‘drugs for all’ fiend, he asks his co-pilot: “want a hit?” Continue reading “In Flight entertainment: exploring alcoholism in film and the ‘character’ of on-screen addiction”
The big story that made the rounds this week in the movie blogosphere was, like most stories based on loose reports, speculation, scuttlebutt and the cyber world’s equivalent of Chinese whispers, essentially a non-story, but for cinephiles such as yours truly it generated more than a smidgen of interest.
The kerfuffle began on Tuesday when Deadline New York broke a story about Warner Bros seeking Robert Zemeckis to direct a remake of director Victor Fleming’s 1939 The Wizard of Oz. They wrote that:
Warner Bros is in early talks with Robert Zemeckis to direct a live-action remake of the The Wizard of Oz and plans to use the original script from the 1939 classic. Continue reading “No Wizard of Oz remake…yet”