Buckle up your seatbelts for ‘Flight’

By Molly Grosskreutz

A&E Editor

Valerie Groebner

Assistant A&E Editor

Captain Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington) is not your average pilot. He’s cocky, he parties hard…and he drinks on the job. When a routine flight takes a turn for the worse, however, Whip’s inebriated state and chill personality end up saving the lives of nearly 100 passengers. But should Whip’s secret be revealed, and should he be punished for it? “Flight,” directed by Robert Zemeckis, attempts to answer those questions.

MG: I found the central conflict of this film really fascinating. Throughout the story, the characters keep saying that nobody could have managed to land the plane like Whip did. Even so, others argue that Whip was acting irresponsibly and should be punished. I found myself grappling with whether to consider Whip the villain or the hero throughout the entire two and a half hours.

VG: This film does demonstrate the fine line between having good morals and making bad decisions, which added a lot of controversy in my mind. Controversy is what the general public is hungry for, though. The basis of the situation is one big brainteaser or riddle, and even at the end of the movie I wasn’t sure if I saw Whip as the bad guy for what he did, or as the honest Bob for admitting his problems—I’m still debating.

MG: I thought this movie did a really nice job of portraying alcoholism in a realistic light. There were so many moments when I thought he’d hit rock bottom, but he always found ways to make his situation worse. I found Washington’s performance very convincing.

VG: Although Whip is caught in this web of right and wrong, I couldn’t help but think back to my own traveling experiences. As an avid and regular traveler (national and international) I began to wonder what the lives of the pilot, co-pilot, and flight attendants really were like of flights I had previously been on.

MG: Equally as effective was Washington’s co-star Kelly Reilly, who played Whip’s recovering addict/friend Nicole. I was really captivated by Reilly’s screen presence. Even though she looked like crap and was supposed to be on drugs, I found myself really wanting to be her friend.

VG: I developed a soft spot for Nicole. She was the epitome of southern white trash, but her efforts to better herself and her habits made me admire her. Many drug addicts don’t want—or don’t think they need—the help, but Nicole goes against that and even tried to help Whip during her own journey to recovery. What a woman.

MG: I was really impressed by how the cinematography so perfectly captured the chaos one could expect in a real plane crash. The actual crash scene was really powerful because it was shot at distorted angles, and the camera movements were really jagged.

VG: The intensity of the plane crash felt so real. It was all kinds of frightening. Anyhow, I found myself fist-and-jaw-clenched, and queasy, by the end of the horrific and disturbing chaos. What bothered me, though, was that Whip maintains his cool throughout the downfall and crash. This is a serious situation and Whip is just keeping his cool! I found that to be nearly unrealistic as any human—hero or damsel—would be in panic mode, even if minor.

MG: I have to commend the writing staff for seamlessly combining two very separate standard storylines: a plane crash movie with an addiction drama.  The combination was intriguing because it’s so fresh.

VG: The beginning scenes have absolutely nothing to do with each other. Apart from the excessive drug usage—which angered me—the alternating scenes were so opposite, I was wondering how it would all fall into place during the film. This isn’t a mash-up you find in all films, but the way things eventually fall into place was so right and timely.

Final Verdict:

MG: Thumbs up.

VG: Thumbs up.

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