Director: Robert Zemeckis
Writer: John Gatins
Cast: Denzel Washington, Don Cheadle, Nadine Velazquez, Carter Cabassa, Tamara Tunie, Adam C. Edwards, Brian Geraghty, Kelly Reilly, Conor O'Neill, Charlie E. Schmidt, Will Sherrod, Boni Yanagisawa, Adam Tomei, John Crow, Dane Davenport, Bruce Greenwood, James Badge Dale, John Goodman, Melissa Leo
Synopsis: An airline pilot saves a flight from crashing, but an investigation into the malfunctions reveals something troubling.
MPAA Rating: Rated R for drug and alcohol abuse, language, sexuality/nudity and an intense action sequence
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At what point does it take before something becomes wrong...
As most experts would say, the first step to resolving an addiction is admitting you have a problem to begin with. People who've been through various alcohol and/or drug addictions often suffer from not even being able to follow this one first step.
Some will say, "I don't have a problem", or others might say, "I can quit anytime I like, as I got it under control." Sometimes an alcohol and/or drug addiction can lead to ruining one's life. In some cases, it causes the person to almost push anyone else away that dares to even attempt to help the person in question. It's at this point, the person finds themselves almost losing everything they may hold dear.
Indeed, it's a vicious cycle. Alcoholics drink to escape their troubles in life, yet all it does is cause more problems than it resolves. "Flight" is a compelling film that follows an airline pilot named Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington), who suffers from a drinking problem and drug abuse; namely cocaine to balance out the alcohol intake.
When we first meet Whip, he comes across as something of a smooth talking airline pilot that enjoys his days taking a few drinks, while sleeping with one his lovely airline hostesses. In the very first scene of the movie, we're not told too much about his addictions, nor his character. However, we do see a bit of foreshadowing laid out subtly in that scene. Whip wakes up from a phone call from his ex-wife, who needs to get money for their son's tuition into a fancy private school. By the nature of the conversation, the audience is immediately able to grasp that Whip isn't exactly close to his immediate family.
At first, it's unclear as to why Whip's son chooses to distance himself from his father, the answer becomes clearer as the film plays out. Whip boards his plane like any other day; reeking of booze from the night before. The plane runs into a storm, which forces Whip to do some maneuvering tactics to get the plane into clearer skies, for the remainder of the flight. After a little turbulence, he tells his co-pilot that he'll be taking a nap for the remainder of the trip; hence leaving his colleague in charge.
When Whip wakes up, he finds out the plane is out of control, due to some technical issues with the plane. He immediately takes back control, and decides to spin the plan upside down to maneuver it better; thus saving ninety six out of the one hundred people on board.
The epic flight scene was intense and very realistic. It immediately thrusts the audience for quiet a thrill ride, but the real story isn't how Whip manages to heroically land the plane in such a dire situation. No, the real story begins after the tragic incident.
After the incident, the airline gets put under intense investigation about what possibly could have caused the plane to malfunction. Whip is merely a puppet for the union, as they try to exonerate him of all the blame.
Whip's new girlfriend, a former drug junkie, tries her best to help Whip overcome his alcohol addiction, but he insists that he doesn't have a problem. It doesn't take long before Whip soon realizes, along with the audience, just how much his addiction might cost him, in the end. Against all warnings, he continues to lie and persist that he doesn't have a problem.
All of this building up to where Whip finally has to make a moral decision that could impact his life forever. Indeed, this is arguably Denzel Washington's finest performance yet. Not only does he manage to convey the internal struggles of his character, but he does it in such a way that you can't help but feel for his character.
Even when he hurts those that try to help him, or love him, you can never bring yourself to ever hate his character, as the viewer sees the emotional struggle he endures. Denzel Washington was brilliant as Whip Whitaker. Hands down the best performance by an actor that I've seen all year. If he doesn't gain the Academy Award for this part, then I'll be sorely disappointed.
As for Robert Zemeckis' directorial return to live action films, he couldn't have asked for a better movie than "Flight", to act as his official comeback. Not only is the story engaging, but it shows us how far an addiction can take us. And how it raises the question, "At what point does it take before something becomes wrong?"
Add in a great stellar cast led by an Oscar worthy Denzel Washington, and you have "Flight." Arguably one of the best films of last year, as you won't be disappointed by it. Overall, I'd give it a rating of four out four.
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