0 - No Redeeming Feature
1 - Poor
2 - Passable
3 - Good. Rent it.
4 - Excellent!
5 - Must See!!
FLIGHT (2013 - UK Certificate 15)
All of this said, however, the most important element of Flight is the story and the arc of Captain Whitaker; casting the right man for the job was absolutely crucial to selling this whole thing. Washington reminds us, possibly for the first time since Training Day, how good he is at presenting not simply a good or bad guy, and not somebody we can easily say we like or dismiss, but rather the flawed human being. The heart of drama is conflict and this film is full of the stuff for all concerned, but most notably and interestingly, for us the audience. The study of the psychology of a man who will not, or cannot, face up to his demons is always compelling, and here we are brought to a point where we care about Whitaker, we want to see him redeemed.
Washington hits his highs and lows brilliantly, taking us with him; we find ourselves genuinely happy, and sincerely disappointed with him in equal measure, as we watch him struggle, wanting desperately to jump in and help him. It is a master actor who can get us to this point, and it is in fact mainly he, not the director, who pulls us through the muddy middle of the movie. The final forty minutes is a compelling performance, and the penultimate chapter showcases nothing short of a masterclass in acting. The finale of the story has been foreshadowed for some time through the film, we are ready and waiting for it, and so the fact Washington is still able to move us quite so intensely is a pleasant final lift. His delivery proves that the devil is in the details; there is no "Hollywood-ing" here, it is absolutely real, and as we watch him we see the quiet, subtle perfection that makes him worthy of his nomination.
Flight doesn't maintain its occasionally breathtaking altitude as consistently as I would have liked, but its star, and the phenomenal acts that sandwich a middle which feels in need of a script polish, elevate it from the generic and make it one to watch.
3.5 / 5
At cinemas now.
Catch it if you like: Cast Away, Fearless.
UNTOUCHABLE (2012 - UK Certificate 15)
Yes, you can literally plot the rest of the film yourself, but at the point in the opening sequence where Driss signals a change of tone before moving into a joyous credit sequence, we know the film makers are going to do the best they can to make the story as fresh and enjoyable as possible, and boy do they succeed! Whilst the overall arc of the story is no surprise, some may even say rather cliched, there is no denying the joy of the film. With scene after scene of terrific dialogue and amusing interaction, we watch one man bring into another man's life some unexpected fun and joy. The movie doesn't touch on back story as much as I would have liked, although they do well in visually contrasting the lives of the two men, and the tone is far more joyous than I expected; you might see reflections of Awakenings or Scent of a Woman here, but it plays on a far lighter level than either. In any case, it is a film much overlooked outside of Europe in 2012, and it shouldn't have been. I haven't smiled and laughed my way through a film this much for a while; I recommend you see it as soon as you can!
4.5 / 5
Catch it if you like: Awakenings, Amelie, Scent of a Woman