Ain't It Cool News (
Movie News

Nordling Says You Should Take This FLIGHT!


Nordling here.

The most iconic performances come from actors who know how they are perceived by the general audience and who decide to play with those expectations.  They take audiences on surprising journeys because those audiences are willing to go those places with those particular actors.  Tom Hanks is one of those actors, and with FLIGHT, Denzel Washington is another – audiences have always liked Denzel as a performer, and while he’s pushed against type in many roles, he’s never played anyone quite like Whip Whitaker, a man so broken and pathetic that audiences might not be so eager to follow him down the rabbit hole if another actor had taken this role.  Still, Denzel Washington doesn’t take audiences too far into the depths, and it’s remarkable that FLIGHT goes as far as it does.  It’s a decidedly adult movie in a time where there are too few of them, and for that alone FLIGHT should be applauded.

Whip Whitaker is an addict in the purest sense – he drinks to excess, and then snorts a couple of lines of cocaine to come back up.  He’s done this for so long that this is completely normal for him to go fly planes afterwards – in fact, it could be said that if he flew sober he might be under some kind of impairment.  When we first see Whip, he’s in bed with a stewardess, yelling at his ex-wife on the phone about her need for more money from him (and, as it turns out, the money is for private school tuition for their son, and Whip scoffs, “Why does he need to go to private school anyway?” Class act, this Whip Whitaker).  After downing a beer or two, snorting a line of coke, he’s off to the races, piloting passenger jets across the country.

Except this flight is different. There’s a massive failure with the aircraft, which forces Whip to use every bit of his ability to safely land the plane.  He flips the plane over to level it out when it won’t respond, and then crash-lands it in a field.  Only 6 people die in the ensuing chaos (one of them the stewardess he slept with earlier that day) and Whip instantly becomes a hero.  But trouble comes in the form of a toxicology report, taken from Whip and the other crewmembers, and Whip’s freedom and livelihood are at stake if it’s revealed to the public that he was drunk and high when he flew the plane.

A lot of money is riding on Whip – if it’s mechanical failure, then the pilot’s union, headed by Charlie Anderson (Bruce Greenwood), won’t suffer any bad repercussions from the crash, and he enlists attorney Hugh Lang (Don Cheadle) to do whatever it takes to get the toxicology report stricken.  Meanwhile, Whip forms a relationship with fellow addict Nicole (Kelly Reilly), but she’s trying to get her life right, while Whip is not interested in any of it.  He’s lived a life so full of lies and abuse that he doesn’t even know what’s true anymore.

Washington is phenomenal as Whip Whitaker.  He’s always been great in so many roles, but Whitaker is different – there’s no big screaming moments of ACTING! In FLIGHT, and Denzel internalizes much of the pain and angst of the character.  Kelly Reilly also impresses – as Nicole tries to pull herself out of the pit of addiction, Whip threatens to drag her down with him, and that conflict within her is compelling to watch.  John Goodman, as Whip’s friend/dealer, livens up the proceedings with his humor, and Cheadle and Washington show us once again that together there really isn’t anything they can’t do acting-wise.  Their scenes have great spark and life.  James Badge Dale has a wonderful scene as a cancer patient at the hospital that Whip recovers from the crash at, and it’s unfortunate we didn’t see more of him in FLIGHT, but the scene has real impact and informs the rest of the movie.

As an exploration of addiction, the issues FLIGHT raises are not routine afterschool special lessons.  There’s more than a hint in the movie that Whip’s addictions actually made him a better pilot that fateful day, but as he might be the best pilot in God’s blue sky, as a person he falls terribly short, with his relationships with his family and friends.  He has a high-school age son he hardly ever sees, and an ex-wife who fights with him all the time, and in the shattered vestiges of his relationships through the years, Whip has managed to alienate anyone who gets close to him, and that’s just how he likes it.

This is an interesting movie for Robert Zemeckis to return to live-action with, and certainly unexpected.  Judging from past movies, you would expect this to be some kind of special effects extravaganza at the very least, or another genre film.  Zemeckis stages the plane crash with real intensity and passion, but that’s not what he’s going for as a whole with FLIGHT.  It’s very much a character study, of a very flawed man coming to terms with himself and his addiction.  The script by John Gatins sometimes skirts into cliché, especially during the ending, which critics will find hard to swallow but regular audiences will likely embrace.  But it’s smart, heartfelt, and truthful for the vast majority of FLIGHT’s running time.

There’s also an evident spirituality to FLIGHT that at times feels a bit cloying – Whip seemingly disdains religion and faith, but aspects of it seem to pop up everywhere, and not in the most subtle of ways.  Again, this is something most audiences will appreciate – FLIGHT tries to hide its optimism under a veneer of gloss and one coat of cynicism, but it’s all the more apparent as the movie goes on.  Denzel Washington carefully gives us a portrait of a man untethered from other people and life in general, but this is only to set up the message.  I doubt Washington or Zemeckis would allow FLIGHT to end on any kind of pessimistic note – it’s just not in this movie to go to the truly dark places. 

 Truth be told, the ending is predictable but it doesn’t undo the work of everyone in the movie.  This isn’t the nihilism of a LEAVING LAS VEGAS – Zemeckis has always been a hopeful, optimistic filmmaker, even when he delved into dark comedy with movies like DEATH BECOMES HER, and FLIGHT doesn’t change that.  But even when the movie ends on a crowd-pleasing note, Zemeckis, Gatins, and Washington give us a character that isn’t simply a clichéd addict, but one of complexity and internal struggle.

Nordling, out.  Follow me on Twitter!

Readers Talkback
comments powered by Disqus
    + Expand All
  • Nov. 2, 2012, 6:19 a.m. CST

    Really good review

    by DadTimesTwo

    It makes me want to see the movie more than I already did, and I believe it will enhance my viewing. Really good job on this one.

  • Nov. 2, 2012, 6:19 a.m. CST


    by B Arnold Quizzling

    Kids these days... Still in bed wanking instead of reading.

  • Nov. 2, 2012, 6:20 a.m. CST

    Are you going to review Wreck-It-Ralph, too?

    by DadTimesTwo

  • Nov. 2, 2012, 6:20 a.m. CST

    Ends on a crowd pleasing note?

    by B Arnold Quizzling

    In Hollywood?? Shocker.

  • Nov. 2, 2012, 6:20 a.m. CST

    Oscar nomination for Denzel, do ya think?

    by Logan_1973

  • Really, is this immportant? Isn't this a cinephile site that should abhor such discussions, especially since it's hours before the film even opens? Enough!

  • Nov. 2, 2012, 6:36 a.m. CST

    The self-loathing, miserable atheist again..sigh

    by Windowlicker74

    BUT ... Then God sends some signs! Probably ends with him coming to terms with himself and family..Typical hollywood drivel. I guess we're lucky he wasn't some miracle debunker this time around but just a drunk pilot:)

  • Nov. 2, 2012, 6:40 a.m. CST


    by Glenn

    LOL. Agreed -- Hollywood doesn't do dark, it only pretends to skirt the damage of real life then pop in for a spiritual uplift at the end of the proceedings.

  • Nov. 2, 2012, 6:55 a.m. CST

    widowlicker got it right

    by RoosterBooster71

    drivel and dreck

  • Nov. 2, 2012, 7:04 a.m. CST

    windowlicker74: I totally agree...

    by Pdorwick

    Remember, this is the same director who changed the wonderfully secular novel "Contact" into a semi-religious parable about faith, God and the power of belief... yech.

  • Nov. 2, 2012, 7:04 a.m. CST

    Black dudes fly planes?

    by Fries Against

  • Nov. 2, 2012, 7:09 a.m. CST

    widowlicker got it wrong

    by Mr Soze

  • Nov. 2, 2012, 7:10 a.m. CST


    by RoosterBooster71

    he drinks and snorts coke for most of the movie, at the end he has a 'come to jesus' moment and ends up being convicted of 6 counts of manslaughter and becomes a motivational speaker to the other inmates at his prison.

  • Nov. 2, 2012, 7:10 a.m. CST

    windowlicker74: I totally disagree...

    by Mr Soze

  • Nov. 2, 2012, 7:20 a.m. CST

    You gotta hand it to Harry ...

    by nico_laos

    You see, Harry takes a lot of shit. He's constantly being called a 'sell out,' an 'idiot,' 'shitty writer,' and any number of jabs poking fun at his massive girth. Hell, I've even been there myself (I still think he should be slapped for calling A SERBIAN FILM a masterpiece). But even after all that, he takes it all in stride. He doesn't do a Kevin Smith flip out or anything of the sort. And for that, he has my unyielding respect. So thanks, Harry. Thanks for not blacklisting your site's visitors when they disagree with you. Thanks for respecting your user's right to have and express an opinion. I'll defend your fatass in any argument for that reason alone. Unfortunately, though, someone here DOES pull the kind of bullshit that should only be reserved for emotional whiners in need of a fresh tampon. Nordling. Nordling is the kind of contributor that doesn't like criticism. He's the kind of guy that will just remove your posts and ban you for doing nothing more than challenging his over-opinionated reporting. We could do without that kind of behavior, Harry, and I'm sure you could, too. But sadly, because of Nordling's constant 'bitch-moments,' I'm going to have to get my movie news from somewhere else. You've lost another longtime visitor, Harry (10+ years), all because one of your contributors thinks he's the fucking god of the internet. It's been fun, pal, but Nordling is doing everything he can to ruin everyone's good time, and I'm just not cool with that.

  • Nov. 2, 2012, 7:25 a.m. CST

    It looks like Cast Away 2, or at least the same structure

    by Lao_Che_Air_Freight

    Established as detached man walks away from the 15 minute slam bang opening special effect and then proceed to then find himself over the ensuing 90 minutes. But because its a sequel, we get a dude with bigger and more instense problems, and we get a biggerand badder plane crash sequence in the first act. I'm sure it's a great movie with great performances, it's Zemeckis after all, but it sure doesnt look like that much of a stretch since his last live action film 12 years ago.

  • Nov. 2, 2012, 7:31 a.m. CST

    Yes CONTACT! That ridiculous movie:)

    by Windowlicker74

    That annoying prick McConaughey ('Can you prove luck...?..') wouldn't let her on that spaceship because she didn't 'believe'... Warning: don't let atheists on your spaceship, they might infect the aliens

  • Hopefully it doesn't dip into cliche too much. Considering the heavy hitters involved, we're certainly not going to get "Bad Captain". Do we get a big commercial for some product, a la "Castaway" and FedEx? Looking forward to seeing it at some point.

  • It's darn tough not to be cynical these days!

  • As an atheist myself, I love the movie because it was intelligent and didn't cater to retards. It seems a lot of people think she actually visits her father in heaven. If you think that, you are a retard. Contact is an atheist movie.

  • Nov. 2, 2012, 8:09 a.m. CST


    by Logan_1973

    Why wouldn't a cinephile website involve discussion on Oscar possibilities or box office numbers? Thats like going to an NFL site and being told you can't discuss the playoffs.

  • Nov. 2, 2012, 8:32 a.m. CST

    If only it didn't end on a crowd-pleasing note . . .

    by Nice Marmot

    Then it would . . . wait . . . 99% of the miserable sad sack posters on this site would still piss and moan about it . . .

  • Nov. 2, 2012, 8:41 a.m. CST


    by Windowlicker74

    Contact was about her wanting proof instead of just believing. And Mcconaughy on the other hand had this 'revelation' and a connection with godetc And then at the end of the movie she could 't prove she made that trip, so she contradicted herself and said: but i believe it. That i was there( or something like that, its been awhile since i saw that movie) and the look on mcconaughey's face, priceless: religion won. I wouldnt call that an atheist movie

  • Nov. 2, 2012, 8:43 a.m. CST

    The trip itself was of no importance

    by Windowlicker74

    But everything that happened before and after was very manipulative

  • It was just some alien projection if i remember correctly

  • Nov. 2, 2012, 8:56 a.m. CST

    Nadine Valezquez nude =

    by grendel69

    That alone makes this worth seeing. Actually the downbeat tone suprises me from a Zemecis film. Might have to see this.

  • Nov. 2, 2012, 8:56 a.m. CST


    by TheMachinist


  • Thankfully, people like David Cronenberg and Paul Thomas Anderson continue to follow their own path and give us films that don't shy away from the inevitable outcome of real life.

  • Nov. 2, 2012, 9:36 a.m. CST

    This sounds really good, but the problem for me is I read Highest Duty

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    the autobiography of Captain Sully, the hero of the flight that landed in the Hudson River. The book is great because yeah he talks about himself, but is so humble. He shares credit with his crew, and with the air traffic control. Only about a third of the book is about the accident. Other parts are about his life, but a lot is about other crashes, how people survived, and how they didn't. There have been talks about making this event into a movie. I think Denzel's movie would bump that to a made-for-tv movie at best which would be a shame. I can see Sam Elliot as Sully.

  • Nov. 2, 2012, 9:39 a.m. CST

    Why DOES he need to go to private school?

    by TopHat

    Why has "sending my kid to private school" become so acceptable? I remember when speaking out against public school automatically made you suspect. Now, almost every movie made, regardless of the story or characters, desperately wants to convince us that the Upper-Class is the end-all-be-all of life. Sending your kid to private school, living in a gated community (even if it doesn't actually have a gate), having dinner with your yuppie friends, admiring your trendy furnished rooms - Characters/people who worshipped this lifestyle in movies or life used to be shunned back to their high horse to whine about First-World problems. Today, they're the "level-headed", "real" people. A man asking why his son has to go to private school is a idiot and heartless (Yes, his character is an addict and its there just to demonstrate how detached he is - this is mainly a reaction on my part to Nordling's obvious belief in the American Yuppie ideology). THIS IS 40 will demonstrate this even more. So, on behalf of the people in America who don't send their kids to private school (not because their horrible neglectful parents but because they can't afford it), or, to be more polarizing, the ninety-nine percent: No, he DOESN'T have to go to private school, Denzel. And now, I will go and regale myself with some nineteen eighties comedies where these yuppie rich folk were the VILLAINS and not the heroes.

  • Now that movie had guts. The protagonist was probably less likeable at the end of the film than at the start. Theron got robbed of her second Oscar on that one.

  • Nov. 2, 2012, 9:46 a.m. CST

    Most of the reviews have bitched about the ending

    by mr.underwater

    Which leads me to believe it's pretty goddamn bad, seeing it's mentioned in review after review. Still, I've found it's possible to appreciate a movie for everything that happens before a cheeseball ending comes swooping in, so I'll still be checking this out.

  • Nov. 2, 2012, 9:53 a.m. CST

    pumped to see this film. Good to have Zemeckis back

    by Robert Evans

  • Nov. 2, 2012, 10:09 a.m. CST

    tophat, that's a bingo!

    by Spandau Belly

    Bret Easton Ellis must be spinning in his grave.

  • Nov. 2, 2012, 10:48 a.m. CST

    Should have gotten Tom Cruise.

    by gruemanlives

  • Nov. 2, 2012, 11:08 a.m. CST

    If I don't like it,

    by Atticus Finch

    does that mean I don't understand it? That's usually Nordling's argument.

  • Nov. 2, 2012, 11:14 a.m. CST

    nadine velazquez naked? Can someone confirm?

    by Raptor Jesus

    I would pay eight bucks for that in a New York Minute.

  • Nov. 2, 2012, 11:15 a.m. CST

    'No Highway in the Sky' - Jimmy Stewart and Marlene Dietrich

    by Raptor Jesus

    Best airplane movie ever.

  • Nov. 2, 2012, 11:28 a.m. CST

    yes she is naked

    by RoosterBooster71

    you see everything, boobies, ass, and snatch..but you never know, could be a body double

  • Nov. 2, 2012, 11:45 a.m. CST

    "Gimme Shelter" in movie trailers

    by waltbbadd

    ENOUGH!! Find a different Stones song fer chrissake

  • Welcome back to the real world of living, breathing actors Bob.

  • Nov. 2, 2012, 12:17 p.m. CST

    This is NOT an original story!!!

    by Dingleberry Jones

    There was a great movie a few years back, about a pilot who overcame his "drinking problem" and managed to successfully land a plane in peril. That pilot's name...Ted Stryker.

  • Nov. 2, 2012, 12:19 p.m. CST

    @friesagainst, of course black dudes fly planes...

    by Dingleberry Jones

    Didn't you watch "Soul Plane"?

  • Nov. 2, 2012, 12:25 p.m. CST

    Best MoCap negro i have ever seen. Zemeckis is the master

    by BoRock_A_Boomer

    They have reached an new level of realism.

  • Nov. 2, 2012, 12:29 p.m. CST

    dingleberry - what a great double feature suggestion.

    by openthepodbaydoorshal

  • Nov. 2, 2012, 12:40 p.m. CST

    I'd like to second a moratorium on Gimme Shelter.

    by The Shropshire Slasher

    Trailers and movies as well.

  • Nov. 2, 2012, 1:03 p.m. CST

    Can't wait to see Jay Pharoh's parody this weekend on SNL.

    by openthepodbaydoorshal

    The man has Denzel mastered.

  • Nov. 2, 2012, 1:14 p.m. CST

    Bret Easton Ellis must be spinning in his grave

    by mr.underwater

    When he dies, he'll get right on that. Unless you mean his career, which I'm not sure is dead, but certainly has been hospitalized since around Lunar Park or so.

  • Nov. 2, 2012, 4:01 p.m. CST

    Tophat knows

    by MikeTheSpike

    How does not wanting to send his son to private school make this guy a bad dad? Why should anyone go to private school in the first place? Is *your* son in private school, Nordling?

  • Nov. 2, 2012, 4:03 p.m. CST

    Yes Nadine is full frontal nude in the first minute of the movie

    by applescruff

    Not a body double, face is visible in the full frontal shot and doesn't even have a hint of digital tampering.

  • Nov. 2, 2012, 4:04 p.m. CST

    And I thought the movie was really, really good also

    by applescruff

    Didnt think the end was cheesy. Denzel delivers.

  • BACK TO THE FUTURE is an entity beyond the typical eighties fare. It is omega. George and Lorraine becoming quintessential yuppies, complete with tennis games at the club, shall not be acknowledged here! Move along, move along.

  • And another self-hating atheist in an Holywood movie? Fuck you Holywood and fuck you Zemeckis! I still haven't forgot about Contact, you shit!

  • All this whining by fellow Atheists about the ending is rather amusing. At the end of Contact we're shown that the government higher up, played by James Woods, is hiding the fact the tape DID INDEED show that hours (or however much time) of tape was recorded, thus proving that she actually went somewhere. So she was right all along, but manipulated by those in power to PUBLICLY question what she saw. Yes, the movie does attempt to draw a parallel between religious faith and her scientific "belief" (for lack of a better term) but in the end it clearly shows that she was correct. We, the audience, get the last laugh on her behalf. It's a rather depressing ending IMO because we're shown that the truth is trampled by those in power, and the character is forced to live without knowing what exactly happened. BTW, I'm as far removed from religion as one can be (And I plan on staying that way) and I love Contact. Book and the movie. Huge Sagan fan. And I can't wait to see Flight.

  • Nov. 2, 2012, 6:46 p.m. CST

    To add even more...

    by Jay

    IMO, the ending of Contact is also trying to say that someone's religious "experience" may very well be true. They just attribute it to something supernatural. Anyone who's taken hallucinatory drugs will tell you how powerful a trip can be. For me, it was merely showing how powerful and little we fully understand of our consciousness. To someone else, it could easily appear as a telephone to their God. Ellies trip is no different. We see it from her perspective, so we know the truth. But look at from an uninformed perspective. She sounds no different than a religious nut. We have the benefit of knowing she's not a nut, though. What we see play out in the movie is probably what would happen in real life. Fucking great movie. Yes, it plays to both sides. Again though, we have the last laugh on Ellies behalf because of the tape.

  • Nov. 2, 2012, 9:30 p.m. CST

    If you're lactose intolerant, you may overdose on cheese.

    by MCVamp

  • Nov. 3, 2012, 12:13 a.m. CST

    Pilots fly drunk all the time

    by Pipple

    But don't worry about that. The way these airlines are run, how fast and crazy the ramp ops is handled, I'm surprised these goddamn sonofabitch aircraft stay up there as well as they do... -Former Delta ramp agent

  • Nov. 3, 2012, 12:26 a.m. CST

    xen and Windowlicker both get it wrong

    by jazzdownunder

    Contact isn't about religion, it's about faith and belief. Religion is about churches and collection plates. Faith is about knowing something to be true but not being able to prove it. This was the revelation for Ellie - that even something entirely scientific in basis might require a leap of faith, and that belief in something without evidence was not always necessarily, as she perhaps previously believed, the sign of a weak, deluded or manipulated mind.

  • Nov. 3, 2012, 5:20 a.m. CST


    by Glenn

    A true cinephile would never care about awards and money, they only care about the film, the text, the meaning. When film buffs get together to discuss their influences, do you really think they're saying "Oh yeah, I loved that movie, it made $250million! and won Best Art Direction!"? I know people in my group of friends would not just frown upon that but would never talk to you again. And these are mover-shakers, people who DO have to deal with boxoffice reality regularly... Comparing Art to Sports, in your analogy, is so misplaced I don't know where to begin. One is about WINNING. The other has nothing to do with winning, losing, or the size of the coffers; it has to do with entertaining and enlightening your fellow man about the human condition.

  • Nov. 3, 2012, 5:22 a.m. CST


    by Glenn

    Man, you made me genuinely laugh, that was awesome.

  • actually, Faith is about WANTING something to be true but not being able to prove it. Do you really think people would have these vision, epiphanies, 'experiences' and whatnot , if there was no promise of an afterlife? that's right: nope.

  • Nov. 3, 2012, 5:47 a.m. CST


    by Windowlicker74

    yes we know Ellie was right all along, but the message of the movie was that she wasn't able to prove it. haha look at Ellie the scientist who is always asking for proof, now she has an experience herself and she's NOT able to prove it!! AND her experience was true (hint: so all the 'experiences', visions, epyphanies etc of 'people of faith' can also be true) to end on a funny note, I will quote some of the laughable lines Palmer Joss throws around that turned Contact into a bad comedy: Ellie Arroway: Occam's razor. You ever heard of it? Palmer Joss: Hack-em's Razor. Sounds like some slasher movie. Palmer Joss: I'm not against technology, doctor. I'm against the men who deify it at the expense of human truth. (yes, he actually said 'human truth' :) Palmer Joss: Is the world fundamentally a better place because of science and technology? We shop at home, we surf the Web... at the same time, we feel emptier, lonelier and more cut off from each other than at any other time in human history... (deep!) Palmer Joss: [Ellie challenges Palmer to prove the existence of God] Did you love your father? Ellie Arroway: What? Palmer Joss: Your dad. Did you love him? Ellie Arroway: Yes, very much. Palmer Joss: Prove it. (the screenwriters of the movie didn't allow Elly to answer that 'insightfull' question so she just stares back confused :))

  • Nov. 3, 2012, 10:53 a.m. CST


    by Glenn

    Prove it.

  • Nov. 3, 2012, 1:37 p.m. CST

    If you want prime Denzel & Cheadle

    by dasaroo

    Devil in a Blue Dress. Awesome noir movie based on the first book in an awesome series by Walter Mosley. Denzel is a quasi- P.I. in 40's LA, Cheadle plays his crazy loose-cannon best friend/muscle/hired gun Mouse. The book series spans the 40's-60's, so D is still perfect to play the aging Easy Rawlins- he needs to get on that and do it again.

  • Nov. 3, 2012, 2:07 p.m. CST

    prove what?

    by Windowlicker74

  • *actually, Faith is about WANTING something to be true but not being able to prove it. Do you really think people would have these vision, epiphanies, 'experiences' and whatnot , if there was no promise of an afterlife? that's right: nope.* Wishful... Thinking.

  • Nov. 3, 2012, 5:53 p.m. CST

    For the love of CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS

    by Vinod

    Praise Darwin!

  • Nov. 4, 2012, 8:20 a.m. CST

    xen11 Contact... how many times have you watched it?

    by MurderMostFowl

    The end of the movie is so clearly her being put into the position of proving faith. She had a "religious experience" that no one can prove and no one will believe her except for the person who understands. She can't even prove the actuality of her experience except for the miraculous "empty tape" ( That's not an accidental term I use ), but only some people believed in the significance of that as well. Others write it off as a coincidence. But for herself, it isn't even a struggle ... after her communication with the alien manifested as her father, she believes. So how is that not religious? The aliens are benevolent caretakers not bound by normal space and time, it sounds like a pretty strong suggestion that modern religions have their basis in fact albeit Primitive interpretations and understandings of fact. If anything i see the movie as a cautionary tale for atheists to not be anti-religion, just pro-science.

  • Nov. 5, 2012, 12:39 a.m. CST

    Very disappointed

    by thot

    Overly long, made-for-Lifetime Channel kinda dull and melodramatic. The film goes nowhere fast and ends predictably. DW is normally very reliable. He's very good here but the story fails his considerable talents. Save your money.