Flight--Directed by Robert Zemeckis. Starring Denzel Washington, Don Cheadle, Kelly Reilly,John Goodman/written by John Gatins/rated R/2hr20mn
Bifocal Review by Barbara Rich & The Other Guy
(B) I am a white knuckler when it comes to flying, so I was very apprehensive about viewing this film, but I decided to face my fears. When I left the movie I was not afraid to fly, I was afraid to drink! Whip, the role played by Denzel Washington, is a dedicated alcohol and substance abuse addict. How he miraculously manages to safely land a plane with mid-air mechanical failure and save most of the passengers is nothing short of an impossible feat. However, a post flight analysis of his blood, revealing how drunk he was gives cause for investigation. This drama continues with the dichotomy of his ability to perform under such unbelievable pressure and his alcohol and substance abuse. Denzel smoothly transitions from a struggling alcoholic to becoming vulnerable to a confident pilot. He fools many by acting sober even though he is drunk. Denzel’s performance deserves an Oscar nod. John Goodman as his supplier never disappoints. He totally filled the bill. My favorite scene takes place in the stairwell of the hospital where a terminal cancer patient, a young lady (another addict who later becomes the love interest of Denzel) and Denzel are taking a cigarette break. I give the film three binoculars.
(OG) For me, a person who has seen the inside of a few 12 Step meetings in my life, this film was a marvelous metaphor for the importance of accepting a higher power (and following the rest of the recovery steps) if one is truly interested in cleaning up the wreckage of ones life. I used to work with recovering alcoholics and addicts for many decades and every one of them told stories--though not as dramatic as a plane crash—but based on a near-death experience from which they were forced to accept that alcohol and other drugs were not contributing to anything positive in their lives. Denzel Washington is perfect in this role and I have to point out that my first positive impression of Don Cheadle came when he portrayed Earl Manigault, in the film Rebound. Manigault (known as The Goat) has been called by such greats as Kareem Abdul Jabbar, “the greatest basketball player of all time.” The reason that the average person never heard about The Goat, is because of his addiction to heroin, which ruined his chances of a professional career. Cheadle is a great actor beyond this film, but my Rebound intro to him was in the back of my mind when I viewed Flight. With such a great cast, including Kelly Reilly and John Goodman, a great blend of rock-tunes in the background, and a really tasteful use of special effects in the crash scene, I overlooked some heavy-handedness with the script and also give this film three Binoculars, perhaps for no other reason than the message is an extremely valuable one.