It’s been many weeks since I watched this, but I’m still playing catch-up.
Denzel Washington is on top of his game as Whip Whitaker, an airline pilot who often flies while under the influence of both alcohol and drugs (he uses the drugs to counteract some of the effects of the alcohol). You just know this is going to catch up with him sooner or later. In this case, it does not take long before Whip finds himself in a crisis situation which will force his lies into the open.
Lies lie at the core of Flight: lies people tell themselves (i.e. denial) as well as lies they tell others. Whip is a master at lying as he hides his alcoholism from himself and others. The aforementioned crisis requires that his lies become more creative and more dangerous, impacting more and more people. Whip is a good man and he wants to get out of the hole he has dug for himself, but it’s a very steep climb indeed. How long can he continue to get drunk and lie before everything falls apart?
All of the acting in Flight is excellent. Don Cheadle and Bruce Greenwood are particularly effective in supporting roles. But it’s John Goodman as Harling Mays, Whip’s best friend and supplier, who steals every scene he’s in. Flight is well-directed by Robert Zemeckis and features an intelligent screenplay by John Gatins and some very good cinematography.
The ending of Flight didn’t quite work for me (too Hollywood?) and there seemed to be some mixed messages in the film indicating a failure to think through some of the plot elements (especially in their impact on our sympathies), but overall Flight deserves a very solid ***+. My mug is up.