Like wine, Denzel Washington just gets more handsome with age.
I thought Flight was going to be an “Unstoppable” action movie with plot and subplots and flying humans. Boy! was I mistaken.
Flight was a drama about the complex make up of a character, about accountability and addiction. Denzel embodied his role as an addict trying to get his life back. I will tell you for free, Addiction is painful to watch.
A Pilot heroically landed an otherwise doomed plane managing to save 96 out of the 102 souls on board. In the following days as the media lauded his bravery, post flight investigations unearthed evidence that would challenge that.
First off, I never took much count of the use of ‘souls’ instead of ‘passenger’ in Flight Manifests. This movie finally made me understand. When a passenger is lost, it is not just a man or woman, but a body and ultimately a Soul.
So, I knew from trailers that the plane was going to crash, but DW’s commanding presence kept me glued to the screen.
As I listened to the urgent communication between the pilot and the towers when things went awry mid-flight, I couldn’t help but marvel and contrast at what could have happened in the last minutes with all the doomed real-life flights you hear about in the news.
I heard Denzel took flight lessons for this role and it showed. He knew his flight mechanics.
He was in control. I didn’t even need him saying it to believe. The way he got his team stepping out of their fear to assist. That is what a leader does. And a Pilot is the leader in a plane. Aye!!
On the other hand, maybe that was the effect of cocaine/drugs don’t you think? A false sense of clarity and bravado compared to his cocaine un-impaired co-pilot who was screaming. lol.
I loved the insight this movie gave me into alcoholism/addiction in general. The lies, self-denial, the temptations, the craving, the havoc it wrecks on personal and family life.
Though it was drama. It had its high moments. My second most thrilling moment, apart from the flight was the night before he was to appear in court. As he walked into the adjoining hotel room and spied the fridge, I broke out in sweat. At that point, the fridge represented the devil. The bad guy. Like in a horror movie scene, you knew that something bad was about to happen. The play of emotions on his face as he opened the fridge and looked at the rows of alcoholic refreshment was a cinematic moment: agitation, calm, amusement and ultimately pride, “I can handle it”, "I can walk away".
Pride cometh before a fall.
In the end, his most heroic act was being true to himself!!
There was something very important I took away from this movie. The prosecutors did not accuse him of alcoholism…rather for his ‘betrayal of public trust. That struck a chord.
Made me rethink some of my half formed opinions of what public trust is. Yes, Captain Whitaker had heroically saved lives, but being inebriated while on duty could have brought other consequences. Passengers flew that plane cause they trusted that the American Airline Associations? IITA? had appropriately licensed this pilot and plane to fly. Barring acts of God or other uncontrollable events, they were supposed to be safe. By drinking and flying he had violated their trust, endangered their lives potentially and made a mockery of his license. That was more important that any one heroic act.
I thought of licensed bus/taxi drivers who shack ogogoro and kparaga while ferrying souls on the road.
I thought of Public transport owners who know brake pads are worn, tyre threads worn but refuse to change them.
I thought of police who swear to honor and protect citizens.
I thought of banks who were licensed to protect my money but instead betray me by giving irresponsible loans.
I shuddered to think of how much our daily living relied on trusting others with our welfare and by extension, how important regulatory bodies really are.
Anyway I digress, I loved this movie and I am glad it garnered Denzel an Oscar nomination even if he didn’t win L. There will be other movies DW, don’t you worry!!
What did you think of the ending for those who have watched it? Too pat or just right?
I forget to mention, the first scene was classic. His lecherous ‘did I tap that ass?’ look as he watched flight attendant Katerina dress up, lol. Baaaad boy!!
Ever wondered about Sex addiction? Next post coming up