Flight stars Denzel Washington as airline Captain “Whip” Whitaker. He is a fantastic pilot with an outstanding flight record going all the way back to his days as a Navy pilot. He also happens to be an alcoholic and a cocaine user.
This is not giving anything of the movie away. The opening scene is of Captain Whitaker and Flight Attendant Marquez (played by the beautiful Nadine Velaquez) in bed together drinking and snorting coke. This is a mere 2 hours before Whitaker is to pilot a flight from Orlando to Atlanta.
The flight has terrible turbulence and a major mechanical malfunction causing the plane to go into a nose dive. Captain Whitaker, through fantastic piloting skills, is able to crash land the plane. He is a hero, until the blood tests from the hospital show the presence of the alcohol and coke. (Again, we are not giving anything away, this is all shown in the trailer for the movie.)
This movie was OK, but not great. The scenes in the airplane are terrific, but they are only at the very beginning of the movie. After that, the movie seems to devolve into an after school anti-substance abuse special. In the hospital, Whitaker happens to meet a recovering heroine addict named Nicole (played by Kelly Reilly), and begins a relationship with her. However, while Nadine has accepted that she is an addict and is working hard to stay clean, Whitaker does not think he has a problem. The fact that he was able to land the plane only reenforces in his mind that he is OK.
An interesting sub-plot is the legal side to the story. The airline pilots union has hired a top attorney to defend Whitaker and keep him a hero in the public’s mind. This includes trying to make sure the hospital blood report never gets released. The attorney is excellently played by Don Cheadle, who is the star of Showtime’s House of Lies. This is an actor who always has a superb performance whatever he is in.
Whatever you do, don’t see this movie if you are about to take an airplane flight soon. And for pilots we have a little advice as well. Don’t eat a powdered doughnut right before you have to fly. If any passengers happen to see a little white frosting on your upper lip and refuse to get on the plane, you will know they have seen Flight.
We give this movie Three Stars ***