After a night with a flight attendant, alcohol, and illegal substances, Captain Whittaker (Washington) boards his 9 am flight from Miami to Atlanta. Still influenced by drugs and experiencing extreme sleep deprivation, he flies the plane, and it malfunctions midflight. The worst-case scenario becomes reality for him, as he lands the plane. However, some lives are lost.
After waking up in a hospital bed with a few injuries, he learns the crash is being investigated. With the help of an attorney and a representative from the airline union, Whittaker undergoes the investigation, knowing what he did was wrong, but does little to express this till the very end.
The film has a steady first half-hour, but once the crash scene comes and goes (as you sit on the edge of your seat), it begins to drag a bit. However, this was expected. The first scene becomes the foundation of the film. The events on the aircraft are analyzed. Throughout the remaining two hours that fatal flight is dissected, as everyone tries to figure out what happened. Whittaker attempts to cover up his alcohol problem, which is difficult. It does a pretty effective job on holding one’s attention.
The intense opening is just enough to hold you over for the rest of the film, as you wait to see what happens in the end. If you have seen the trailer for “Flight,” you basically have seen the film at its highest points. Except the ending, of course.
It is difficult to get back into the film once the crash scene is over. The beginning is the focal point, and the rest of the events aren’t exactly elusive. As an audience, we know what happens. It becomes a matter of whether or not everyone else can piece the puzzle together.
The concept of “Flight” was very interesting. When I originally saw the trailer for it, my pulse was racing, even though I knew for a fact that the plane crash was completely fictitious. It made me beyond uncomfortable. However, last year was a big year for films. It is no surprise “Flight” got lost in the midst of “Argo,” “Lincoln,” and “Django Unchained.” It did not receive as much recognition as it should have. Washington shines in the film, but his supporting cast does little to add to the film overall.
The subplot of Whittaker’s romance with Nicole (Kelly Reilly), a recovering drug addict does just enough to add to the film, since her problems make Whittaker fully realize his own.
With a two nominations from the Academy, including best actor in a leading role (Washington), “Flight” is worth the watch. If you can sit through nearly three hours of “Lincoln” knowing he will get shot in the end, you can sure as hell view “Flight” not knowing the outcome.