Academy Award Winner Denzel Washington is back and Oscar nomination is buzzing all around his latest film, Flight. Directed by Robert Zemeckis and following a remarkable cast of Don Cheadle, Melissa Leo, Bruce Greenwood, Kelly Reilly, and John Goodman, Flight is probably one of the most moving films of 2012. Whip Whitaker (Washington) is a smug veteran pilot who miraculously lands a plane that seemed to be doomed from the start. Saving all but a few members aboard, Whip is deemed a hero. That is until after further investigation shows that he was under the influence of alcohol and cocaine while piloting. As questions continue to arise about the incident investigators are deciding whether the incident was indeed Whip’s fault or an act of God.
We find out from the very beginning that Whip is not only an absentee father, but an alcohol and cocaine abuser as well. The film takes us through Whip’s short time success as a hero to his extremely low time as the possibly reason of the plane’s malfunction. In Whitaker’s mind he is a functional substance abuser, but his life is rapidly spinning out of control. Though a good friend and the Airline Pilot’s Union representative, Charlie Anderson (Bruce Greenwood) along with his attorney Hugh Lang (Don Cheadle), try to help him through the investigation; Whip gives up drinking. He comes across a fellow addict Nichole ( Kelly Reilly) who is recovering from a strong heroine overdose. The two become fast friends and even faster lovers. They seem to be on the correct path until the stress from the investigation leads Whip to drink again and eventually driving Nichole away. From that point we watch Whip continuously battle with alcoholism, disconnection, his ego and most importantly his lies.
One thing noticed about John Gatins, the film’s writer, was his strong theme of religion and truth. From the plane-in the mist of landing-taking off the steeple of the church to describing the freak accident as an “act of God,” Whip’s lack of faith and arrogance ultimately lead to his demise. Eventually he is forced to deal with his demons opposed to lying to himself. Flight plays on the audiences emotions through fear, empathy and dependence. It is definitely one that will leave you on the edge of your seat from the very start. In my opinion, it is most undoubtedly award worthy.