Looking for a fun movie to entertain you and your family on a cold winter night? Look elsewhere than “Flight”. I’ll state early on that I was caught off guard by the seriousness of the film and it comes with some heavy baggage. Let’s buckle in, put our trays in the upright position and (nose) dive into this flick.
Flight stars Denzel Washington as Whip. Whip is a successful commercial airline pilot with a very unhealthy habit; he’s an alcoholic and drug addict. During one of his flights the airplane has a malfunction and starts plummeting uncontrollably to the ground. Whip is able to regain control of the aircraft by flying it inverted and can eventually land in an empty field. Whip’s courageous flying saved the lives of almost everyone onboard. Whip is viewed as a hero, but he tries to stay out of the spotlight. It’s later learned that Whip wasn’t only flying drunk, but he was even drinking in the cockpit. Whip must battle his harmful addictions while working with the airline lawyers to protect his secret.
When I first saw a trailer for this movie I thought the plane crash would be the climax of the film, but this happens during the first act. The main story of this movie is following Whip and how he tries to battle his addiction after the accident. This movie made me very frustrated. Whip is obviously an amazing pilot for landing the plane like he did, but he is a very unlikeable character. He is constantly drunk and makes decisions that I couldn’t fathom.
As usual, Denzel’s performance throughout the movie was great. He might have played the role of an alcoholic a little cliché, but all in all it was job by Denzel. John Goodman plays the much needed role of the comic relief. The movie is very heavy and without Goodman’s character some scenes would be hard to sit through. Even though he is only in about 3 scenes, his performances changed the mood of the film entirely.
I’m torn if I would recommend this film to anyone. It has a solid 77% on Rotten Tomatoes, so the masses enjoyed the film. I found it depressing and some people would be put off by that. The ending has a nice resolution, but it takes a long time (2 hours and 20 minutes) to get there. If you’re a fan of Denzel Washington then it’s a no-brainer to see this movie. If you’re a drama fan then you’ll also enjoy it. However, if you want to go to the movies to enjoy yourself, I suggest looking elsewhere.
The movie is well put together, but I still have to bring up a couple issues I had with it.
- Whip was reported to have a BAC of 0.27. At this high of level he would have been having severe motor impairment, memory blackout, loss of understanding, and possible loss of consciousness. Later in the movie Whip is drinking himself to sleep and he is not functional at all and passes out on the floor. That is likely what 0.27 would look like.
- Is the whole inverted flight sequence even possible? I had to look it up and I recommending reading this article where a commercial pilot voices his opinion.
- Before the hearing at the end of the movie Whip is too drunk to function. I find it hard to believe that any lawyer would allow his client to get high on cocaine as a way to mask the effects of the alcohol.