While it's notable for a great lead performance and also for being director Robert Zemeckis' first live action film since 2000 there's also no getting away from the fact that 'Flight' ends up the kind of drama about alchoholism that feels very familiar and features a storyline that isn't always hard to figure out.
After his flight goes down (in a spectacular and frighteningly done sequence that is easily the visual highpoint of the film), Washington's pilot is acclaimed as a hero for saving as many lives as he could. But, the night before the flight he indulged in drink, drugs and sex and wasn't exactly clean when piloting the plane. Forced to look at his life amidst media intrusion and an investigation into the circumstances of the crash, he will face his demons head on.
Washington's performance is very very good, and he was rightly thrown an Oscar nomination for his work. Several supporting performances are also good even if some are little more than cameos but unfortunately British actress Kelly Reilly is wasted in a role that offers less than it promises as a fellow addict navigating her way (fear not though, being a Hollywood film Reilly never looks anything other than radiant even at the 'depths' of her addiction) through recovery as well. As the story builds to it's conclusions all the beats play out as you would expect in a drama of this nature.
While it's not in any way an unsatisfactory film, it's also one that maybe isn't as different as it would like to think it is. It's a satisfying enough film to watch once or maybe every few years but not one to watch over and over for me.