It’s not a question with a simple answer, but on the way out of Flight, I told a friend that one thing you have to admire about Denzel at this stage of his career (as an established A list Hall of Famer), is that he’s (so far) avoided the DeNiro/Pacino trap of not getting in enough quality performances in between the obvious ‘paycheck movies’.

So that’s my lead in for Flight.  I haven’t seen enough films yet to say Denzel is a lock for a Best Actor nomination, but right now he has to be in the running.  As pilot ‘Whip’ Whitaker, Denzel gives one of the more reality based portrayals of addiction that’s been onscreen in recent years.  The first act you know about: Whip, high and drunk, creates a disaster in the air and then redeems himself (initially) by guiding the plane to a safe landing.  The plane crash sequence is rough; I mean that in the best possible way as someone who has never been a fan of flying.  Kudos to you Evan if you’re reading this.

The other big takeaway from the film is while Flight is clearly Denzel’s show, the rest of the cast definitely carries their weight in supporting roles.  Nadine Velasquez is the gorgeous eye candy, John Goodman basically steals the movie as the comic relief, Don Cheadle and Melissa Leo add the necessary gravity.  Good welcome back to live action for Robert Zemeckis.

Recommendation for Flight from yours truly.