Washington Flies High
When pilot Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington) pulls of a miraculous crash landing to save the majority of the passengers and crew he should be a hero. But truth is that the night before he had partied heavily with an air stewardess, started his day with a line of coke and had secretly been drinking vodka and orange on the plane before taking a nap whilst the co-pilot took over. With toxicology tests taken whilst he was unconscious in hospital a lawyer tries to protect Whip from what is coming but in order to do so he needs to sober up and get clean. That is easier said than done as despite becoming close to recovering addict Nicole (Kelly Reilly) who he met in hospital after she overdoses he can't stop himself from drinking even with the hearing approaches to go through the events. Even when he is confronted by the fact that there are those who won't be able to fly again he can't stop himself from drinking and doing drugs.
"Flight" is a curious movie which has a mixed style that makes me wonder how it ended up coming to be. What I mean is that the movie starts with nudity followed by drug taking, we then have an in your face soundtrack punching you in your face before we then get the action packed crash scene, spectacular enough to be a conclusion of some movies. Yet that is not what the movie is about and instead this is a movie all about addiction and how beating an addiction is not easy. The thing is that all the other stuff from the investigation, Whip asking people to cover for him and his relationship with Nicole seems there not as part of the addiction storyline but to try and make the movie more appealing to the masses.
But where "Flight" soars is when the focus is purely on the character of Whip who it has to be said is fantastically written. We are taking on this journey of the charming, confident pilot who goes on the defensive when the truth starts to come out about his problems with alcohol and substance abuse. We see him struggle, fail, give up, hide and everything else an addict does both physically and emotionally when they are forced to confront their problems. And there is probably no better actor to make the character of Whip so authentic from being the drunken sot running from his issues with booze and drugs to the man who knows he has messed up but can't face owing up to it, all the time you get a sense that his conscience is eating away at him and he knows what he should do.
What this all boils down to is that "Flight" is two movies slammed together; you have an entertaining aviation drama involving attempts to cover up a pilot's issues and then you have a drama about addiction with a character study side. Unfortunately the two jar especially in styling choices to make "Flight" actually a frustrating movie which needed to be either one thing or another.