Flight on the outset is a movie about an airliner crash and the investigation that follows. The movie however revolves around life of an unstable airline pilot, Captain William “Whip” Whitaker who is piloting the plane on the fateful day of the crash.
The character of Captain Whip has been essayed by Denzel Washington who was nominated for the “best actor” category at the Oscars this year. Flight is a Denzel movie all the way and he admirably carries the story from start to the end on his capable shoulders. The movie starts with Captain Whip getting up on the morning of the flight, hung over from excessive drinking and doesn’t mind sniffing a few lines of cocaine before a flight, as he says “to get in line”. The characters around him, some aware of his alcoholic streak and some intimidated by it, take solace in the fact that he is an extraordinary airline pilot.
The first 20 minutes of the movie which depict the crash are extremely riveting and very well shot. The captain (even under the influence of alcohol) exhibits amazing calmness and innovative decision-making trying his best to save the plane. The crash sequence will keep you on the edge of the seat, even if you know what is going to happen and you are in awe of the pilot throughout it. The transition from awe to doubt to sometimes hatred, combined with the idiosyncrasies of Captain Whip is what forms the basis of the plot.
Nadine Velazquez plays a drug addicted single woman who despite needing help herself helps Captain Whip to confront his demons. Don Cheadle as the Captain Whip’s lawyer plays a focused man and as always delivers a crisp performance. Bruce Greenwood as best friend and confidant supports brilliantly. The surprise element of the movie was the shit-talking cocaine dealer and friend of Captain Whip played by funny man John Goodman. His character is independent of Whip’s character and lightens up the mood in the otherwise heavy drama.
Directed by Robert Zemeckis, who we all will remember as the director of Back to the Future series, he makes a mark with this one too.
Flight works on various levels of human relationships, faith, inner peace but for me the crux of the movie was not the obvious, which is the airline crash, but Captain Whip’s flight to freedom. A must watch for all Drama lovers.