The next Denzel Washington movie that they DON'T promote as being "the best performance of his career" and/or "Oscar-worthy performance" will be the first. It seems like anything he does will get that tag no matter what. So was that what it was that convinced me to check out this flick? Heck no. Just the fact that it was Denzel was enough. That and the fact that he was reuniting with Don Cheadle.
In "Flight", Denzel played troubled pilot Whip Whitaker who can't seem to do anything right (and sometimes even legal) in his private life but is a genius when he gets in the cockpit. It never becomes an issue until the ill-fated flight where his plane malfunctions and his shrewd piloting saves the lives of nearly everyone on board. That would normally be grounds enough for making a person+ a hero. However, his highly questionable actions leading up the malfunction puts him in the spotlight in a way he never anticipated.
It probably wasn't the best idea to watch an airplane disaster movie just hours before boarding my own flight back home. The only thing worse would have been watching one on the plane. All I kept wondering the whole time was how possible it was for some fluke accident to happen like the one they depicted in the movie. They made it seem like it was highly plausible. Then you put Denzel in the mix and it made for a restless flight home.
Anyway, as for the movie, I absolutely loved Washington's character. This was a guy that was struggling with demons and had to self-medicate just so he could do his daily job. It just so happened that his daily job entailed him being entrusted with dozens of lives on a daily basis. It really made you think twice about what may be going on in the lives of the pilots who fly our planes. Films like this help to remind us that they are people too and some of them may have issues going on that we don't know about. Maybe it's better that we don't know as long as they are doing their job to the best of their ability.
The one problem I did have with "Flight" was the film's most pivotal moment. They had to make sure Whip was sober before he testified at a hearing about the crash so they holed him up in a hotel room where he would have no access to alcohol with someone guarding the door. But the adjoining room had a malfunctioning door that they didn't bother checking? As if that wasn't credible enough, the guy guarding the door didn't hear him making the mess in the room that they inevitably found? Huge plot hole.
Fortunately, the acting pulled director Robert Zemekis out of a hole. The story itself wasn't all that interesting. But once you put Cheadle and John Goodman in there to help out Washington then it's hard for much else to go wrong. A very simplistic story then becomes a riveting drama that successfully holds your attention for two hours. Just make sure you don't have any flights scheduled before your plan on watching it.
My rating: B -