So, I Watched Flight — Denzel, Planes, and Addiction


I really, really liked this movie. Flight is not so much the movie said title implies, but one that takes you through the winding road of the ramifications of uncontrolled addiction. And Flight does so in top form.

Flight stars the Oscar-award winning actor Denzel Washington, along with Bruce Greenwood, Don Cheadle, Jon Goodman and Kelly Reilly in supporting roles. We see Denzel portraying Whip Whitaker, an alcohol/drug-addicted pilot who has to deal with the fallout of being caught flying under the influence.

Under normal circumstances, this would have been an open and shut case, but Whip’s intoxication only comes to light after he miraculously saves nearly all of his passengers and crew, in the wake of a disaster deemed “an act of God”. All but six survived the disaster, but in the wake of such undeniably grim odds, Whip’s wit, experience, and intuition, enabled him to pull of an almost impossible maneuver. Only after this disaster does the ensuing medical analysis reveal Whip’s aforementioned alcoholic state.

While initially one would think this is movie is about the miracle that was the safe landing of a plane in peril, in reality, it’s all about addition. And the narrative of Whips struggle to overcome what we find is a devastating illness that has not only destroyed his career, but also his family.

In the wake of the plane crash, Whip is initially deemed a hero, the media is all aflutter about the miracle that was. Whip managed to accomplish the impossible. But soon after ensuing investigations, he finds himself in hot water with the Federal Flight Administration about possible criminal charges due to his intoxication while flying.


This movie is the story of the ramifications thereof. And while to journey to get to the heart of Whip’s problems is great, still the story leaves something to be desired. Greatest of which is that it doesn’t just come out and say why Denzel’s character has become so addicted. The movies alludes that it may have had something to do with his father’s passing, which may have been escalated even more when his wife couldn’t deal with his drinking episodes, which ultimately results in a disconnected relationship with his family, and a son that hates him. I only wish they would have explored this avenue a bit more, giving just a bit more explanation. And maybe this was purposely left as an exercise for the viewer to decide. Even so, it felt a bit lacking. That being said, he does come out and say at some point in the movie that, “I drink because I want to and that is what I like and nobody will stop me.”, but even this seems only to scratch the surface at best.

As far as performances go, Danzel delivers on a believable character that felt very real and raw. This movie only underlines the fact that Denzel plays a great anti-hero, a role I have grown to love seeing him portray. The supporting cast ties to shape him up, doing their best to get him through this ordeal that may not only end his career, but may land him in jail.

Bruce Greenwood plays the role of Whip’s mentor and long-time friend Charlie, a role not too dis-similar from his role in the Star Trek reboot. He is in Whip’s corner, even though Whip doesn’t necessarily want him to be. Charlie is also a union representative. He and Don Cheadle’s character work together to not only save Whip, but clear the airline of all negligence. Rounding out Whip’s corner is John Goodman, who plays his fellow addict friend, and Kelly Reilly, who is a recovering addict turned loved interest.

After the events of the crash, the movie is all about Danzel battling his addiction, while trying not to get thrown in prison.

All-in-all, anyone who loves Denzel would love this movie. He delivers another stellar performance. The pacing of my movie manages to keep you on your feet, even after the major action event of the plane crashing, which takes place early on. The ending is sure to keep you guessing as we are never entirely sure if Whip will change his overly addictive ways to make it though an ordeal that will determine the path of the remainder of his life. If you like Danzel, airplanes, and addition-movies, this may be for you.