Flight starring Denzel Washington is fiction. Yet it's a hot subject that has some sponsors asking to have their names blocked from the movie trailers. Denzel's Whip is a senior hot shot pilot for a large airline. We first meet him as an alarm goes off. He's in bed with a hottie flight attendant. The room is strewn with beer bottles and evidence of some hard partying. And the two need to prepare for a return flight. Uh-oh. A drink here, a sniff there, and Whip is ready to take the controls, just needs coffee and aspirin from the senior flight attendant on board, who obviously knows the drill. The co-pilot has concerns but doesn't officially state them. It's stormy, with nasty winds. Time for take-off. It's a rough one, but we can see that Whip knows his stuff and expertly skirts between thunderheads to get to smoother flying.
Then, things go wrong mechanically. Losing engines, lack of control. Whip is focused, intent on slowing the plane down. He'd been chugging orange juice laced with vodka (yes, we saw him open the two little bottles and pour them into his mug) and yet when he inverts the plane, then re-inverts and lands it, albeit in a controlled crash, he is a hero. Out of 102 people, he saved 96. BUT, and this is a big BUT, did he endanger the lives of those 102 people? Is he really a hero, or just darn lucky?
That first quarter of the movie is gripping excitement. The next three quarters is the telling tale of a man who's spun out of control and lost his way, but his ego won't let him ask for help.
Don Cheadle, John Goodman, Kelly Reilly, and Melissa Leo are part of an all star cast that takes Flight along with Denzel. His is an Oscar worthy performance. The movie see-saws between admiration for the man and his crisis abilities, and repulsion at his weaknesses and flaws. It is intense and has you, the audience, alternating in taking sides, and wondering if Whip will ultimately make the right decision. Buy a ticket and climb aboard. But strap on your seatbelt - Flight is a bumpy ride.
Joanne Faries, originally from the Philadelphia area, lives in Texas with her husband Ray. She considers herself fortunate to be able to pursue a writing career after eons in the business world. Joanne enjoys reading and movies, and is the film critic for the Little Paper of San Saba.