There’s not a lot to like about “Flight.” Firstly, it’s about an alcoholic who refuses to own up to the fact that he’s an alcoholic. Secondly, it’s about a commercial airline pilot who is an alcoholic. Lastly, it’s got one of the craziest plane crashes in the history of movies which, when you travel as much as I do for a living, kinda freaked me out. And despite all of these things, watching Denzel Washington do what he does with this character, you can’t take your eyes off it.
Much like Daniel Day-Lewis’ character in “There Will Be Blood,” the story of pilot Whip Whitaker is not a pleasant one and that kind of makes it a “one-time viewing needed” film. He is a liar, an alcoholic, a drug addict and a complete narcissist. Despite these flaws, there is an amazing pilot in there and when he rescues a faulty plane from complete disaster by flying it inverted (that’s upside down for you “non-pilots”) into a field and rescuing all but 6 from death, he is considered a hero. That is…until his blood work comes in and it shows that he was legally drunk. From there, it’s Whip against the world as everyone wants to know…was the pilot who saved the lives of 96 people hammered when he did it?
There’s a reason Washington is up for a Best Actor Oscar for this performance. Despite his character being downright unlikeable, he still somehow manages to make you sympathize with him, even though he can’t seem to get a grip on his addiction. His performance and the performances of Don Cheadle, John Goodman & Kelly Reilly, keep this movie on the rails and, although I didn’t find it suspenseful in any way, it was still interesting to watch a character in downward spiral. In the end, Whip finally gets his just reward and we are left with a feeling that his life may be turning around. I don’t know if that is exactly what this movie needed to make me give it a decent overall rating, but I can say it was enough for me to find it an interesting watch, even if it was more of a character study of alcohol addiction than it was a great overall film.
Overall Rating: B-