My friends and I see new movies frequently, nearly every Friday, and I am the primary chooser of the films since I have the most credibility and knowledge about what will be worth our ten-dollar ticket. I had seen the previews for Flight many times leading up to last weekend and knew in my gut that this was going to be a good film. I was 100% correct.
Denzel Washington delivers an Oscar worthy performance in the Robert Zemeckis drama about a pilot who lands a doomed plane after a serious mechanical failure resulting in six lost lives. The rub in this morally confused film is that Washington’s character, Whip, lands the plane with superb skill thus significantly reducing the amount of fatalities yet is both drunk and high while doing it. Should we punish a man who saved so many lives? It is a really hard call as the viewer is privy to all the bad choices Whip makes prior to the crash and in the immediate aftermath. Whip’s personal life is in shambles and he cannot make a smart choice regarding liquor if his life depended on it, which it does. While watching this film I noticed the packed theater was fully enthralled in this man’s personal struggle with addiction. Every time he came to a place where he needed to make a poignant decision, he failed and the viewer’s just shook their heads in shame. Washington’s tragically charismatic character pulls you in and onto his side only to disappoint you time and again. Considering this film only contains a small portion of action at the very beginning, I was surprised how invested the audience became in Whip’s personal journey without the exploitation of sex or violence. I suppose the presence of a very funny John Goodman, who plays Whip’s dealer and friend, helped viewers take a rest from all the seriousness before delving back into the devil within. Without the comedic reprieve I am not sure the anxious audience could take the pressure.
Since addiction is an indiscriminate beast, this film appeals to all adults, races, religions, gender, which I saw among the seats of the theater. A friend who attended the screening with me expressed genuine concern about her own life choices after watching this film. She even claimed that the film disturbed her much more than she ever expected. Although I can say with certainty that my friend is not an alcoholic, that is how strong this film is in terms of reaching inside of a person and inciting self-reflection. The standout features of this film were, by far, the acting and directing. I am positive Denzel will receive multiple nominations for this performance which is confirmed by all the buzz running through the industry press. I also give kudos to the screenwriter, John Gatins, as Flight was an original story with a bitter journey that leaves you relieved with a less than ideal ending, which is a difficult feat in Hollywood. I found this film to be well worth my ticket but warn those looking for a shallow good time; this is not your movie. On the flip side, all those moviegoers looking for a cinema experience with depth; I highly recommend it.