"Flight" stars Denzel Washington as Whip Whitaker, plays with fire and enjoys it but is soon forced to be seated in his own hot chair to face some facts. He's an airline pilot who's an addict and an alcoholic. In my opinion the movie succeeds in being an adult drama, as it will have you on the edge of your own chair. It’s a real crowd-pleaser.
An hour into the flight his plane starts having major mechanical failures while en route to Atlanta forces Whitaker to make an emergency landing in an open field. Engines explode and parts go flying and just before this scene we shockingly witnessed Whitaker having no trouble inhaling a line of cocaine. Along with the jolt of in-cabin oxygen combined with a clandestinely self-mixed pitcher of vodka and orange juice, you can’t help but feel intensely overwhelmed as you see the passengers aboard the plane panicking. It’s also frightening to know that Whitaker holds everyone’s life in his hands with so many intoxicants in him.
Miraculously, he lands the malfunctioning plane with only a few casualties. Despite the odds Whitaker soars like an eagle and comes across as if he was Sully Sullenberger as he controls the aircraft during some highly heretical maneuvers and saves the day. Though shortly afterwards the National Transportation and Safety Board investigates the crash and Whitaker faces lawsuits, even prison time, for criminal negligence due to his actions. The question then becomes is he a hero or a villain? Both?
There’s a legal battle of course and we’re confronted with the complex character of Whitaker, as he is now both distrustful and nervous. Suddenly this man not only flies airplanes but also is now in flight of his own life. The facts of him having to deal with his demons end up costing him more than his freedom as we’re introduced to the reality of his private up-side-down world.
To make matters worse he meets Nicole Maggen, played by (Kelly Reilly). A young woman who faces an addiction crisis of her own who is trying to recover from a near-fatal heroin overdose. The Romance is short-lived but they do remain good friends.
The courtroom scene seems to have Dooms Day written all over it when he’s faced with the truth of who drank the missing vodka bottles.
Washington’s ability to deliver the right amount of agony from a soul in torment never let’s us down. The film can’t quite live up to his earlier performance standards but that doesn’t mean you won’t be thrilled.
Rated R for drug and alcohol abuse, language, sexuality/nudity
Directed By: Robert Zemeckis
Written By: John Gatins
Running time: 135 minutes.
I give it a B- as Denzel does give a great performance in this drama.
Though story line is a C because it's all been said and done before.