An aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960s decides to write a book detailing the African-American maids' point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis.
Bryce Dallas Howard
Whip Whitaker is a commuter airline pilot. While on a flight from Orlando to Atlanta something goes wrong and the plane starts to fly erratically. With little choice Whip crashes the plane and saves almost all on board. When he wakes up in the hospital, his friend from the airline union introduces him to a lawyer who tells him there's a chance he could face criminal charges because his blood test reveals that he is intoxicated with alcohol and cocaine. He denies being impaired, so while an investigation is underway, he is told to keep his act together. However, letting go of his addiction is not as easy as it seems... Written by
The script was first optioned by Denzel Washington's then agent Ed Limato who'd been kicking it around Hollywood for several months until Denzel showed interest. However, in order to get the film made with the studio's modest take-it-or-leave-it $28m budget, Washington and director Robert Zemeckis accepted a reported tenth of their usual salaries. See more »
While Whip is in his hospital bed, the NTSB agent sets down a recorder. The light on the recorder is "blinking" red, which means it is paused in recording mode. If it were recording, the red light would be "solid". It does turn solid at the end when the agent motions to turn the recorder off -- which is really "record". See more »
Gaunt Young Man:
Do I scare you? People are either drawn to me, or they pretend like they can't see me. It's a trip. They think because I'm close to the other side, I got some sort of power or wisdom.
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I had high hopes for Flight, no pun intended. It looked solid. Denzel Washington as a heroic pilot who may have other, deeper issues? Sounded good to me. Sounded almost like Oscar bait, even. But it's not. It's about fifteen minutes of awesome (at the beginning) and ten minutes of solid sweetness (at the end) and them more than an hour of crap. Washington tries hard (sometimes way too hard), but his character is so incredibly unlikeable that when the expected epiphany occurs I didn't feel empathy toward him, I felt relief that it was finally, blissfully over.
Washington is Whip Whitaker, an experienced airline pilot. Flying out of Atlanta, he encounters some severe weather but manages to thread a needle through the clouds to clear skies. Problem averted until about half an hour later, when the plane begins to fall apart. Whip pulls off an interesting, unfathomable maneuver, flying the plane upside down for a short time to arrest an extremely steep descent. The plane crashes, and nearly everyone survives. But there's more to the story - had Whitaker been drinking prior to flying?
Yes, it's a FWI (flying while intoxicated) movie, and suddenly it's not about the awesome crash but rather the character of one Captain Whitaker. It's about his fall, rise, fall, fall, fall, fall, rise?, fall, and so on from grace, with the help of a lawyer (Don Cheadle), his best friend (John Goodman), an ex-junkie (Kelly Reilly), and a union rep (Bruce Greenwood). Will Whip rise to the occasion, or will he sink further into decline, hastening his own demise? There's a hearing coming up with the NTSB. Will Whip give it all he's got, and then some, for the sake of his own life, those of his kid and ex-wife, and those of the wreck's survivors? A little while into the movie, you realize these questions are not only moot, they're boring.
Whitaker is a jerk. He's a charmer, sure, but essentially he's a selfish jerk who rebuffs everyone's attempts to help them (even if they're cynically doing so to save their own careers), until...well, you probably know until when, because the movie follows the blueprint of every down-in-the-bottom-and-then-redeemed story to date.
If you enjoy watching Denzel Washington in any movie, this is your movie - because it's any movie, you see. If you enjoy seeing Denzel Washington mumble like a person who's learned that people mumble when they're drunk, this is also your movie. He doesn't act so much as pretend to be a character, and here he thinks that character is Denzel Washington, Drunk Guy. He stumbles, he mumbles, he mutters, he stutters, and that's about it.
In most of Washington's movies, he's the one carrying the film. Here, he's surrounded by a very capable cast, and they prop him up like a cigar-store Indian. Cheadle and Greenwood have great scenes together, Reilly is a wonderful find (I didn't realize she was British - excellent southern US accent), and Goodman not only steals his scenes, it's almost as if he's acting in an entirely different movie altogether.
I wouldn't recommend Flight. Despite previews that almost make it seem like an action movie, or at least a psychological drama, it's neither of them. It's a standard-issue hard-luck story, but by the end you might not care whether the main character overcomes his obstacles or not, and that's a death knell for movies like this.
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