"Flight" landed at the New York Film Festival on Sunday morning, and critics at a press and industry screening for the film are reporting what many already guessed: Denzel Washington gives an Oscar-worthy performance as a substance-addled pilot.
"Denzel Washington is fantastic," wrote Film School Rejects' Jack Giroux on Twitter.
"Denzel Washington is excellent," echoed critic Tom Shone.
"Denzel Washington may very well be Oscar nominated for his showy performance as an heroic pilot haunted by demons," wrote New York Post critic Lou Lumenick.
Washington stars as Whip Whitaker, a pilot who crash lands a plummeting airplane and saves almost everyone on board. It's only after toxicology results come in that Whitaker's demons are revealed: He had alcohol and cocaine in his system at the time of the crash. The film -- director Robert Zemeckis' first live-action production since "Cast Away" in 2000 -- focuses on the fallout of what happens next.
"Washington has found one of the best parts of his career in Whip Whitaker," wrote THR critic Todd McCarthy in his review of the film. Per McCarthy, the section of "Flight" when Whitaker lands the plane is particularly harrowing.
The gripping 20-minute interlude that follows has in every way been brilliantly orchestrated by Zemeckis and will mesmerize and terrify audiences in a manner that will make the film widely talked about, a must-see for many and perhaps a must-avoid for a few.
With positive early buzz from the New York Film Festival crowd, Washington remains in the ever-expanding Best Actor field, alongside Daniel Day-Lewis, Joaquin Phoenix, Sir Anthony Hopkins, John Hawkes, Hugh Jackman, Bradley Cooper, Bill Murray and Ben Affleck.
"Flight" is out in theaters on Nov. 2. Check out reactions from the New York Film Festival premiere below.
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