Flight (2012), a movie with heoric scenes and prolonged bathroom breaks


The plot of Flight is easily summarizable: an alcoholic pilot went to work drunk, a heroic pilot saved his plane from mechanical failure.

After some tense scenes in the cockpit for the first half an hour of the movie which ended in a crash landing, the pilot, Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington), met Charlie Anderson as the pilot union representative and attorney Hugh Lang, who helped him deal away with detrimental evidence and guided him through NTSB investigation. He met and helped heroin addict Nicole Maggen along the way. Yet in the final NTSB hearing, where he no longer felt comfortable lying, admitted the truth that he’s drunk during the flight.

The opening of in-cockpit scenes are tense and breath-taking, maybe, too tense, that some intertwining scenes of heroin addict Nicole Maggen needs to be inserted to smooth things out. The closing of NTSB hearing scenes are also great, as if one can see the struggles within Whip Whitaker between the pauses of questions. These are just what’s needed for a great movie about a returning prodigal from lies and drugs.
I couldn’t say the same about the bulk of time in between. The whole movie is 130 minutes long, which means a lot can be fitted in between the two great scenes, more than the cunnings of attorney Hugh and the business minds of airline manager. I know somehow protagonist Whip needs be seen trying and failing to get off alcohol during that time, so that his struggles as an addict would be displayed and his confession at the hearing would not seem abrupt. I’m not very sure introducing a heroin addict named Nicole Maggen, who came to live with Whip and the two tried to help each other get rid of alcohol, who later left Whip, is a brilliant idea. Yes, we see how the story developed and we know a little bit more about Whip’s past experience and current struggles during that hour. For me, someone that stood away from drugs and alcohol in the first place, that flat hour with nothing interesting could be replaced with two paragraphs of description, and an hour seems too long for bathroom breaks.

Centering on a divorced, philandering drug and alcohol addict, the movie did shed some light on the group of people in the world that are lost. The sad thing is that, a good companion failed, Alcoholics Anonymous failed, it took him a confession at NTSB hearing and years of prison time to truly become clean and get back to himself. If that is what’s really necessary to get back, the movie sends a very good message about not getting there in the first place. Sadly, nobody watches a movie to be told only that.

Looking back, Whip Whitaker did put on a great performance in the movie. Sad thing is, I found little more than good performance from the movie.

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