Willie Waffle is the movie critic for people who hate movie critics.

Flight - Review

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flightposter.jpgAfter watching all of those commercials and trailers for Flight, you might think you know what it is all about, and that's when Denzel Washington surprises you.

Washington stars as Whip Whitaker - an alcoholic pilot who also likes to do cocaine (Sully must be irate!).  After a wild night out, Whip has to pilot a small plane on a short hop from Orlando to Atlanta, which should be no problem, but we wouldn't have a movie if the flight went well (seriously, can you imagine how boring the movie would be if it was two hours of TSA touching your junk, watching beverage service and seeing what happens to your baggage on its way from plane to carousel?).

During the flight, something horribly malfunctions on the plane, and only Whip's amazing display of skills saves them from what could have been a terrible disaster.  However, as he is being celebrated for being a hero, it is discovered Whip was drunk and high past all legal limits during the flight. 

Will Whip be held responsible?

Can he get his life under control?

While the primary plot of Flight is about whether or not Whip will be sent to jail, the movie more so is about Whip's struggle to realize he has a drinking and drug problem, and it is ruining his life in every respect.  That's where Washington soars.

As an actor, no one captures that righteous indignation and coolness in his character like Washington, which is why we are captivated while watching Whip's life fall apart as he struggles and fails to go down the path of sobriety.  Washington puts an amazing face of pride and denial on Whip, while also showing us the man's vulnerability, failures, weaknesses and overall feelings of desperation.  He's just perfect from opening scene to closing credits.

Meanwhile, director Robert Zemeckis and writer John Gatins make Flight a fully rounded film.  Zemeckis fashions the infamous flight in the title into one of the most harrowing sequences captured on film.  Every moment is full of danger, tension, fear and shock, while Gatins also walks a fine line between courtroom drama and personal drama.
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Gatins's script makes it clear to us what is at stake, what Whip has done, what has gone wrong with the plane and how everyone involved is looking to cover their butts (believe me, you will see all sorts of reality in this scenario).  However, the ultimate resolution, as well as Whip's personal journey, is what keeps the audience in suspense until the very end.       

Flight is a wonderful movie only brought down slightly by the use of John Goodman's character, Harling Mays. In short, he's Whip's buddy/dealer, and the way Goodman has been directed to ham it up and provide extreme comical relief goes too far.  It's not Goodman's fault.

Flight is almost perfect.

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3 ½ Waffles (Out of 4)  

Flight is rated R for drug and alcohol abuse, language, sexuality/nudity and an intense action sequence