Monday, November 12, 2012

Crash Landing

 #Flight #moviereview

Captain Whip Whitaker is an alcoholic and a drug addict. But he's a high-functioning addict.  So high-functioning in fact that, after a drunken night of debauchery and cocaine for breakfast, he is able to heroically land a malfunctioning  plane, saving ninety-six souls with only six casualties.  Everybody agrees that Whip, played by Denzel Washington, saved lives.  And while the accident highlights Whip's skill as a pilot, it also threatens to expose to the world his secret life as an addict.  As Rick James once said, cocaine is a hell of a drug; and so is denial.  Post-accident, Whip struggles to navigate his life and addiction like he navigated his stalled plane--inverted in an effort to keep from spinning out of control.  

So Flight, directed by Robert Zemeckis, is not a disaster movie about a plane crash, but a disaster movie about alcoholism and addiction.  Zemeckis and Washington create a perfect storm of tension as Whip is thrown life line after life line, but is seemingly unable to keep from running his life into the ground.  I don't know if any  actor other than Washington could of have carried this movie with such heft from beginning to end.  Washington is so very good when he's playing the anti-hero.  In Flight, Washington is also surrounded by a stellar supporting cast, including Bruce Greenwood as Whip's pilot union rep, Don Cheadle as his lawyer, and John Goodman as Whip's drug dealer and banana boat captain.  [As an aside, Cheadle makes the best lawyer.  When I was in law school, I used to love watching him play a lawyer on the show Picket Fences.]  Flight also has one of the most harrowing plane crash scenes I've ever seen, so don't be late for the first twenty minutes of the movie.  [The last movie  I saw featuring an inverted plane was Top Gun.]

So, if you're in the mood for a bumpy, crash landing, Flight is for you.


  1. I was going to see this, but since I fly twice a week, I thought it might be a little too much. After your post, I think I changed my mind! Phil


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