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25 January 2013 Film


Director Robert Zemeckis has a career that boasts success across genres and decades, including Back to the Future (1985), Forrest Gump (1994) and Cast Away (2000). His latest effort stars Denzel Washington as Whip Whitaker, an alcoholic pilot determined to remain in the fast lane no matter the cost. When his plane nosedives due to equipment failure, he makes a miraculous emergency landing despite being drunk and high at the time. But during the ensuing crash investigation, we begin to understand exactly what Whip has sacrificed to remain an addict for so long. Performances are all solid, including a stand-out cameo from John Goodman as Whip’s wisecracking cocaine dealer. There is a religious moralism that runs beneath the film’s surface – at odds with several scenes that glorify the addict’s lifestyle – though this isn’t your standard Hollywood fare. Zemeckis generally eschews addiction clichés and predictable outcomes. 

Rebecca Harkins-Cross