Movie review: Denzel Washington in Flight
Some folks might say Flight peaks very early. Those folks would be absolutely right. But what a peak it is.
Whatever you do, do not show up late. The opening half-hour is truly stunning.
Denzel Washington plays Whip Whitaker, a commercial airline pilot about to take the controls of SouthJet Flight 227, a midmorning run connecting Orlando to Atlanta.
Within minutes of takeoff, the aircraft is in trouble.
It is literally falling apart in the sky. Most of the onboard equipment is failing. The engines are blowing out one by one.
Having learned his craft from a family of crop-dusters, Whip lets his instincts kick in. He rights the plane out of a nosedive by inverting its trajectory.
End result is that the plane levels out completely upsidedown, travelling just far enough to prevent crash-landing in the
built-up suburbs below.
By the time the aircraft is ditched in a field near a rural church, six people aboard Flight 227 are dead. But 96 are alive.
Whip Whitaker looks for all the world like a hero. Until the world takes a closer look at Whip Whitaker. A post-crash toxicology report reveals Whip had a blood alcohol reading of 0.24.
There is going to be an official inquiry. When people die – and millions of dollars’ worth of plane is gone as well – someone must pay.
That someone could well be Whip Whitaker.
While Flight is doomed never to match the brilliance of its thrilling introduction, the film still earns its keep as a tragic,
true-to-life character study of a damaged human being.
The more we learn about Whip Whitaker, a man capable of Olympic levels of self-denial, the more we are left to wonder how he even made it into the cockpit that fateful morning.
See Flight (M) in cinemas nationwide now.
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Top performance: Denzel Washington is in fine form as flawed hero Whip Whitaker in Flight.