Flight Movie Review by Mike Holtz of We Watched A Movie
For someone who has a fear of flying Flight doesn’t do much to make me feel any better about boarding an airplane for the first time. It does, however make for one hell of a movie. Not necessarily in an entertaining sense but as a dramatic character study of an extremely intriguing and controversial character. Denzel Washington stars as Whip Whitaker; an airline pilot with a closet (well, more like a warehouse) full of demons. After a typical night of indulgence in alcohol, cocaine and women Whip takes his seat in the cockpit of his commercial plane where once in the air, things go horribly wrong.
The opening of the film shows us not just how bad off Whip is on drugs and alcohol; but also how highly he functions while abusing it as he pulls off the near impossible to save passengers lives in one of the most intense and gut wrenching airplane crashes ever caught on film. Flight isn’t about the lives Whip saved however; it’s about whether or not he can save his own.
Watching Whip try and navigate the natural issues that come up out of a situation like this is amazing because it’s not a generic take on addiction by any means. He seems at times to defy the typical consequences of being such an addict with the type of bravado that only Denzel Washington can bring to the screen. Whip moves through the wreckage of his life full steam ahead as things begin to crumble down around him and is so convincing that the viewer even begins to believe anything he says even as we watch him lose control. Remember the scene towards the end of Training Day when his character begins to realize for the first time he is not invincible and delivers the classic “I am King Kong” speech? Denzel tows that same line between owning the world and complete breakdown for the entirety of Flight and it’s a spectacle of an acting performance.
Denzel is not alone either, as John Goodman plays his drug dealer and best friend bringing some much needed laughter into the fray, even offering cocaine to a Federal Lawyer (Don Cheadle) at one point.