Culture Street

Review: Flight

On January 31, 2013

By Sophia Whitfield

The film opens with Whip Whitaker, airline pilot, waking up next to a naked woman, the remnants of alcohol and a line of cocaine. Still high on cocaine Whitaker, played by Denzel Washington and air stewardess Katerina (Nadine Velazquez) make their way to the 9am flight Whitaker will pilot.

Almost immediately the audience is aware of Whitaker’s tortured being. Vodka bottles lie in wait tempting a weak Whitaker to partake of their numbing quality. 15 minutes into the film director Robert Zemeckis, his most memorable films include Back to the Future, and Forrest Gump, has set the scene for the catastrophic event that will take place.

Settling in for the flight Whitaker has already unnerved his co-pilot by enjoying the oxygen on offer as he checks it for take-off and downs two Aspirin with a cup of coffee. When the plane malfunctions Whitaker rolls the plane crash landing it in an open field, saving all but six on board. The simulated plane crash is one of the most spectacular to grace the screen. In an adrenaline fuelled scene the audience sees a frenzied mass of terrified passengers.

Despite the fact that Whitaker has been secretly drinking vodka miniatures from the plane’s bar, adding to his already intoxicated state, he responds to the scenario with calm bravado crash landing the plane with authoritative calm.

Initially hailed as a hero Whitaker’s new found status is only short-lived. Toxicology reports show that he had above the legal limit of drugs and alcohol in his system when piloting the aircraft. 10 other pilots were put into the same simulated scene and none were able to land the plane saving any of the passengers. But Whitaker is an alcoholic, who has driven away everyone close to him by refusing to acknowledge his weaknesses. Can he recover and avoid paying the price for his misdeeds?

Flight is an adrenaline-filled thriller with a terrific cast. Alongside Academy award winner Denzel Washington, Flight stars Don Cheadle, Kelly Reilly, John Goodman, Bruce Greenwood, and Melissa Leo. Denzel Washington is pivotal to the film, giving an absorbing performance as ailing pilot Whip Whitaker.

Flight is released in cinemas across Australia today.

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