MOVIE REVIEW: FLIGHT (2012)

Running time: 2 hours, 19 minutes
Cast: Denzel Washington, John Goodman, Tamara Tunie, Don Cheadle, Kelly Reilly
Director: Robert Zemeckis

Quick summary: ‘Whip’ Whitaker is an airline pilot who becomes an instant hero after he crash-lands a plane that malfunctions while in air. An investigation into the crash reveals some troubling information about Whip.

Flight featuring Denzel Washington

Flight is definitely a must-see. It completely caught me off-guard and turned out to be one of the most unsettling and emotional films that I’ve seen all year.

From the opening scene, this movie keeps jabbing at you until you fall against the ropes from exhaustion. We quickly learn that Whip regularly consumes large amounts of alcohol and cocaine, and you’d be justified to assume that Whip spends all of his waking hours under the influence of something. Denzel Washington gives a chilling performance of a man moving at full speed towards death.

Next is the flight sequence, which is freaking amazing and terrifying. I gripped my seat as I watched Whip calmly navigate through turbulence and nose dives, but there was an underlying layer of terror because Whip is completely under the influence of drugs. His calmness could actually be a drunken stupor.

After the plane lands, Whip wakes up in a hospital and learns that he saved 96 out of the 102 people onboard. The celebration is short-lived as an investigation is immediately launched and a toxicology report shows alcohol and drugs were in his system during the flight. We also meet Hugh Lang, played wonderfully by Don Cheadle, as an attorney trying to keep Whitaker out of jail on drug and manslaughter charges.

As the investigation continues, Whip dives deeper into his alcoholism and we see an alarming scene with Whip’s ex-wife and estranged son. Whip even gets a girlfriend named Nicole (Reilly) in this movie, and she’s just as damaged- she suffered a recent heroin overdose. He manages to drive her away as well, especially when he refuses to attend rehab meetings with her and continuously belittles her and passes out drunk.

Washington ends the movie with a subtle yet powerful dialogue about his life and his addiction, and he gives you some food for thought as you leave the theater. Are you living your life to the fullest potential? Are you blocking yourself from finding happiness and success? Sure, these are cliche questions that you normally hear on daytime, self-help TV shows, but Washington gives you a different perspective as you watch him go deeper into hell.

If you saw Flight I would love to know what you thought about it. Do you see any Oscar nominations for this film? Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actor (Washington)?

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