The movie opens with a man and woman in bed; we get the picture of what went on the night before. The man is having an argument on the phone as he reaches for a drink on the night stand. We realize from the conversation that he is a pilot getting ready to fly back to Atlanta. Our mouths drop in shock as we see him take a hit of cocaine before getting dressed. This is our introduction to Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington), a veteran pilot for a major airline, divorced, estranged from his son, an alcoholic and drug addict.
I travel a lot, and at that moment my mind went straight to, ‘How many pilots have these same issues?’
The jump start to the film is the plane crash. We are on edge from the time Whip steps on the plane. We know he’s been drinking and drugging, his crew knows he’s been drinking, his new co-pilot suspects something isn’t right, and he just looks hung over. The plane has a rough take off but good ole Captain Whitaker pulls it through, even though the co-pilot is a mess. Everything is smooth until it is time to land and then Director Robert Zemeckis takes us on the most frightening, yet amazing ride of our lives. I say us because by this time the theater seats have turned into airline coach and we are all strapped in that plane. The plane flies upside down, then right side up, tears off the steeple of a church, and finally lands in a field. Because of Whitaker’s skill and control of the situation, only six souls are lost. Whip Whitaker is a hero.
After the crash is when the story begins. Denzel does a more than fantastic job of making Whitaker a real person. You want so badly to like him and feel for him but then, like so many people we know in our own lives, he will do something that makes you throw up your hands and walk away.
Speaking of walking, I must take a moment to make reference to Denzel’s signature walk. It alone, is a character in itself. I have seen only one other person with a walk of such confidence that it will make you stop in your tracks to watch them come and go and that man is in the oval office of the White House.
We see Whitaker stop drinking, start drinking, deny his problems, push people away, and finally we come to the resolve. There are so many “stand out” scenes in the film but one is when the hotel room before the trial. I won’t give it away but you will know.
There are some really stand out characters in the in this movie. There is a guy who is a terminal cancer patient (I don’t know who played him, I think it is James Badge Dale but I am honestly not sure) that Whitaker and recovering alcoholic Nicole (Kelly Reilly) meet while smoking in the stairwell of the hospital. This character is so refreshing and just steals the scene. He was there just long enough to make you care about what happened to him. Another stand out was John Goodman as, hippie throw back, drug dealer Harling Mays. He is so out there and unbelievable, you believe him.
In a nut shell, “Flight” is a great movie with awesome actors. There is one major problem I have with the film. For the first five minutes of the film, Nadine Velazquez parades in front of the camera full frontal, butt and front naked, nude. WHY??? There wasn't any reason for it. Denzel showed his butt, it was not pretty, maybe if he a gone full frontal Monty I might have a different our look. I doubt it. Oh, and the co-pilots wife’s lines should have gone on the cutting room floor or given to someone who could act, “Praise the Lord!”
I say SPEND THE MONEY and see FLIGHT in the theaters. I am sure it will spark all types of discussions over drinks afterwards.