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Flight

Video Guy reviews: "Flight." It is a measure of an actor's talent if she/he is able to make me REALLY dislike the character she/he portrays, when in fact I otherwise REALLY like the actor. Denzel Washington succeeded in doing just that as heroic but deeply flawed Cap't. Whip Whitaker in "Flight." The central plot point is a plane crash. You knew that. The crash is so harrowing, and Whitaker so skilled, that your first reaction might well be a forgiving "Whew! Dodged a bullet there!" But as his character is revealed, the bullet feels more like a bomb slo-mo exploding. The only hope throughout the film is for his redemption ... but does it come? (You'll have to see it ... no spoilers; they drive me crazy!). Director Robert Zemeckis, of "Back to the Future," "Castaway," and "Forrest Gump" fame drifted into performance-capture animation ("Polar Express," "Beowulf," and "A Christmas Carole") before returning to live-action films. The movie he has crafted in "Flight" demonstrates that he hasn't lost his narrative chops. It is a difficult story to watch unfolding because Washington's Whitaker is such a distinctly - persistently - unlikable cuss. But that's also why he is likely to get an Academy Award nod: Washington's work is absolutely exemplary. Strong support work from Kelly Reilly, a recovering junkie; Don Cheadle, Whitaker's lawyer; John Goodman, Whitaker's friend/supplier (another terrific character role); and Bruce Greenwood, former pilot/friend of Whitaker. Worth seeing on the big screen - not just for the crash sequence, but because you really want to see Washington's close-ups. What he reveals in his face tells so much of his character's tale.

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