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Denzel Washington plays a seasoned airline pilot (Captain Whip Whitaker) flying for a low budget southeast regional carrier named SouthJet (think ValuJet).
The movie begins with Captain Whitaker
piloting a routine flight between Orlando and Atlanta.
With the co-pilot now completely freaked out, Whitaker
calmly assumes control of the situation by executing a series of instinctual and unconventional maneuvers including applying additional thrust, increasing drag and rolling the aircraft completely upside down to correct the dive and achieve level flight.
During this time, both engines blow out and cannot be extinguished or re-started.
The scene in the cabin is horrifying with people falling out of their seats, vomiting and rolling around uncontrollably.
Without power and unable to locate an alternative airport, Whitaker
indentifies an open field to crash land the jet.
rolls the aircraft right-side up and begins an aggressive accent towards the field.
Seconds before impact, Whitaker
realizes they are approaching the property of a Baptist church and severs the church steeple with the right wing before slamming into the ground.
As the National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) investigation gets underway, Whip Whitaker is declared a hero for a masterful crash landing and is praised by the media, friends and colleagues.
discovers that other veteran pilots attempted to duplicate his
maneuvers in a flight simulator.
All failed to arrest the dive and ended up crashing nose first.
Seems like a heroic Captain Sully Sullenberger landing on the Hudson River story, right?
Thereâ€™s just one complication; Whip Whitaker
is an alcoholic and drug addict.
Before flights, Whitaker
consumes a variety of alcoholic beverages then snorts lines of cocaine to restore his
senses and concentration prior to entering the cockpit.
summons the â€œservicesâ€ of his
buddy Harling Mays (brilliantly played by John Goodman) to dispense and administer his
During the NTSB investigation, this addiction has now caught up with Whitaker
drug test after the crash confirming he
was indeed intoxicated prior to the Orlando to Atlanta journey.
Towards the end of the movie, Whitaker
is called to testify before a formal NTSB investigation board in Atlanta.
During the hearing, Whitakerâ€™s heroic aircraft maneuvers are acknowledged by the lead NTSB investigator.
board concludes by rolling the MD-80 upside down and maintaing an inverted flight attitude, Whitaker
arrested the dive and prevented the aircraft from slamming into the ground nose first. Â The NTSB
also uncovered the cause of the mechanical failure.
evades the question and instead stares at the enlarged photo of Marquez before him.
In this moment of personal reflection, Whitaker
must finally become accountable for his
then admits to the NTSB lead that he
had also been drinking before the flight and is in fact an alcoholic.
This shocking confession strips Whitaker of his
career and sends him to federal prison.
The movie concludes with Whitaker
fellow inmates on the lessons heâ€™s learned and admitting that the consequences suffered from his
irresponsible actions were fair and liberating.
In short, Whitakerâ€™s fateful 52 minute flight turns out to be a flight to personal redemption.
The last scene of the move shows Whitaker
The son explains that he
is now applying for colleges and needs Whitakerâ€™s help in writing a letter addressing the topic: â€œA fascinating person you have never metâ€.
son then asks him â€œSo, who are you?â€
FILM REVIEWS | LAFM Magazine We Report
No, I am not referring to Denzel Washington's Captain Whip Whitaker enjoying an all-night party of sex, booze and cocaine with a hot flight attendant (Nadine Velazquez).
Captain Whitaker, notwithstanding an addiction to drugs and alcohol, is an exceptional pilot, having earned his wings in the Navy.
In the cockpit, he
is a commanding, steady presence.
In a terrible storm, Whitaker
artfully steers his
passenger jet to smooth skies and away from severe turbulence, much to the joy of grateful passengers.
Yet, from the beginning, his younger co-pilot (Brian Geraghty) appears to be extremely nervous, but that's more likely due to his suspicion that Whitaker
may be operating at less than the optimal level.
Except for Whitaker
, who maintains surprising equilibrium as he
tries to figure a maneuver that will avert a crash from which no one would walk away.
inverts the plane, flying it upside-down so as to pull out of the uncontrolled descent, thereby buying some time in which to right-size the aircraft in time to land in an open field.
Of the 102 persons on board, 96 survive, thanks to Whitaker's brilliant if unorthodox efforts.
a hero, sort of like Captain Sully Sullenberger, and eagerly pursued by news reporters.
was also injured in the crash, and after getting out the hospital, he
hides out at his
grandfather's old farmhouse to avoid the media glare.
At first, Whitaker
dumps all the booze hidden in cabinets and drawers.
The pressure builds on Whitaker
is not exactly cooperative with the legal team or the airline honchos.
The inevitable relapse to more booze and drugs soon follows.
In less capable hands, Washington's flawed Captain Whitaker
would be likely viewed as a rather unappealing, selfish drunken loser with few redeeming qualities.
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Whip Whitaker, a seasoned airline pilot, miraculously crash lands his plane after a mid-air catastrophe, saving nearly every person on board.
After the crash, Whitaker is hailed as a hero, but as more is learned, more questions than answers arise as to who or what was really at fault and what really happened on that plane.
Films - DCdigest
After the scary ads and previews of plane trauma, I wasnâ€™t sure I wanted to see â€œ Flightâ€ , but Iâ€™m very glad I did.Â Yes, the opening bad weather and scenes of airplane turbulence are nail-biting, but the bulk of the movie follows the harder battle of Captain Whip Whitaker against his own personal demons as the airline investigation proceeds.Â This is a serious movie; substance abuse is not pretty.
But Denzel Washingtonâ€™s performance is so fine and compelling that the film becomes a first class adult drama.
Yet Flight is not a complete downer of a movie either.Â Instead, it offers a complex story of a flawed hero who flies his own route to self-discovery and redemption.
SYNOPSIS: Â In this action-packed mystery thriller, Academy Award winner, Denzel Washington stars as Whip Whitaker, a seasoned airline pilot, who miraculously crash lands his plane after a mid-air catastrophe.
After the crash, Whip
is hailed as a hero, but as more is learned, more questions than answers arise as to who or what was really at fault and what really happened on that plane.
The film opens with Captain Whip ...
The film opens with Captain Whip Whitaker (Washington) in a hotel room, hungover after a night with Katerina Marquez (played by Nadine Velazquez - naked naturally).
On the one hand we are supposed to believe that despite being off his head on alcohol and coke, Whip Whitaker did what no other pilot could do in a simulation of the same experience.
So Whitaker is a perfectly functioning alcoholic and super pilot, then.
But if the alcohol and drugs didn't cause the crash, it was a fault with the plane (which by the way nobody seems to be the slightest bit interested in), then the illegal substances presumably helped him save lives.
Maybe it was the boost he
needed to do the unthinkable?
They certainly didn't hinder him in his
So why does he
have to spend the next two hours beating himself up about it and trying to atone for his
I won't spoil it by telling you what happens but suffice to say Whitaker's lawyer and best friend think it is a good idea to put Whip
up in a hotel room, with access to an excessively packed mini bar, the night before the hearing.