Check out this tour-de-force clip from the beginning of Bob Zemeckis's return to live-action, "Flight" (Nov. 2). The Paramount movie, which closed the New York Film Festival (TOH review and press conference coverage is here), showcases Denzel Washington at his best as an alcoholic captain who miraculously saves a diving plane and most of the passengers on board. But he is in denial about his drinking problem. And he's in a whole bunch of trouble.
The film cost just $35 million, which is low-end for a director like Zemeckis. It was intended to be actor-writer John Gatins' second feature after 2005 family drama "Dreamers," but he let Zemeckis take it on, who in turn brought in Washington. At a recent industry screening, Zemeckis admitted some anxiety about taking a full-on serious drama (albeit with humorous moments from the likes of Don Cheadle and John Goodman) into today's unforgiving marketplace. He should not worry. Audiences are starving for this kind of accessible crowdpleaser.
Is it an Oscar contender? Paramount will push Washington, who has a shot in a competive category, for sure. So far reviews are upbeat. We'll see where we are on opening day.