By Josh Dillen
The thought of being in a plane when it crashes is horrifying; while the chances of being involved in one are exceedingly rare, it is an all too real possibility. This is why we place the utmost trust in the professionals who take us to the skies every day, our pilots and flight attendants, who have been prepared for the worst. What happens if the bond of trust is broken? What happens if something goes wrong and the pilot is intoxicated? This is the premise of the movie Flight, a movie about the heroism of a pilot, marred by his alcoholism.
The film begins with our hero Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington) waking up from a drunken night on the town in the company of a flight attendant and a line of cocaine. He is an unlikely hero at best. To make matters worse, he receives a call from his ex-wife, the mother of his son, nagging him to invest even the slightest interest in their child. Still drunk he gets dressed, snorts some coke and flies a plane. Unfortunately, this part of the story has a predictable ending.
Despite a rocky take off, this flight seems just like any other. Whip takes this opportunity to speak to his passengers personally, while craftily topping off a couple of shots of vodka. Whitaker then decides to catch up on some sleep when, as no surprise to anyone who has seen a preview of the movie, the plane begins a long, dramatic descent back towards the Earth. This is not only the best, but also the worst part of the entire movie. The cinematography and the acting are nothing short of amazing. The entire flight crew played scarily believable roles and, unfortunately, made me really feel like I was in the cabin. This is what makes it the worst part of the movie, I don’t think I will be getting on a plane anytime soon after that.
The rest of the story follows Whip’s struggle with addiction, another all too real aspect of this film. It was incredible how the acting, the directing, the props, and even the entire set were all able to send Whip’s feelings right through the screen. You could feel the determination as he drained his home of booze, the disappointment as he returned to liquor, and the desperation he felt as he realized he needed help. In this sense, the movie was like no other.
If you’re looking for a fun Friday night date movie, I would highly advise against this R-rated movie due to its violence and numerous references to drugs and alcohol. But, if you’re looking for a heart wrenching, gut-churning, spiritual movie, this is the one. While it has its flaws like Whip’s girlfriend who adds nothing to the plot and a missed opportunity of involving the flight crew in the plot, it is a worthwhile film.