After a ten year hiatus from live action film, Robert Zemeckis makes a wonderful return with his newest drama/thriller Flight. Not only is this Zemeckis’s return it’s also a return of sorts for Denzel Washington. The majority of his films for the past five or so years have been just action movies and while they’re almost always awesome they aren’t exactly Oscar contenders. This is definitely an Oscar worthy movie with wonderful direction and excellent character work led by Washington’s great performance.
The story is about an airline pilot named William ‘Whip’ Whitaker. On an otherwise normal day he prepares for a 9 a.m. flight to Atlanta, Georgia from Florida. While it’s a very short flight time, less than an hour, it is still enough time for all hell to break loose. With less than a half hour before landing the plane malfunctions and the plane begins to nosedive at more than 4,000 feet per second. Pulling a maneuver that should be impossible, Whip manages to crash land the plane away from any housing and sets it down in a field. With 102 souls on board 96 make it out alive, 4 passengers and 2 crew members die. With so many lives saved he is heralded as a hero, but he has a secret that could change his life forever and for the worst.
Three days prior to the crash, Whitaker goes on a bit of a drunken tangent all the way to even having a drink mid flight the day of the crash. While the result of the crash is ruled mechanical error, the mere fact that he was not only drunk but buzzed with cocaine could mean life in prison. Even though his actions were the direct result of the many lives saved, being intoxicated while operating an airplane needless to say is illegal. With a union representative for pilots, a smooth operating never say die lawyer, he may just make it out of this with zero prison time. But this requires some not so truthful replies on Whitaker’s part. Normally this would be no problem, but with all the lies he’s told over his life having resulted in the divorce of his wife and alienation of his son and now the risk of losing everything another lie may be all too much.
With pressures from the media, federal agencies, families of lost loved ones, and a denial of his serious alcohol problem, this may be too much for Captain Whitaker to take. Featuring a very intense crash scene, wonderful performances from Washington, Don Cheadle, and John Goodman, and expertise direction from legendary director Robert Zemeckis this is one film not to be missed. It’s exciting, intense, sad, and moving. If this doesn’t receive Oscar attention then something is wrong.