Denzel Washington : Whip Whitaker
Kelly Reilly : Nicole
Don Cheadle : Hugh Lang
John Goodman : Harling Mays
Whip Whitaker is a commuter airline pilot. While on a flight from Orlando to Atlanta something goes wrong and the plane starts to fly erratically. With little choice Whip crashes the plane and saves almost all on board. When he wakes up in the hospital, his friend from the airline union introduces him to a lawyer who tells him there’s a chance he could face criminal charges because his blood test reveals that he is intoxicated with alcohol and cocaine. He denies being impaired, so while an investigation is underway, he is told to keep his act together. However, letting go of his addiction is not as easy as it seems…
A top, excellent, brilliant, beautiful movie about the struggle of a person who fights against his addiction. The plane crash is actually not the main subject in this film. That’s only used to attract people to the theater because it looks so spectacular. In a way it’s just for satisfying our tendency to have a peek at disasters. And it gave the SE department the opportunity to flex its muscles. If that’s the only thing that excites you, you’ll be disappointed about the rest of the movie.
But the strength of this film and the admirable performance of Denzel is the realistic portray of the archetype of an alcoholic. For people who have been in such a stage of their life, there are many points that are so characteristic and recognizable. Others will call it a fake alcoholic or acting a bit pathetic about an addiction.
But Denzel shows what such a person has to endure : the shame, the profligate, the awareness of having a problem, feeling helpless and missing the strength to get over it and to resist the urge. There are a few small things that indicate that Denzel has studied it thoroughly. Such as knowing up to the minute how long he’s been sober, the guilty and ashamed feeling at an AA meeting and then leaving with such an air as if that’s only for suckers to go there and the hand that comes back into the picture to take that bottle.
At the funeral of a colleague he asks another colleague to lie a little about his problem. That shows how low a person can go when being addicted to something.
The fact he’s a pilot and he was able to prevent a plane crashing in such a severe way that there would be more victims, is only a way that leads to the unveiling of his alcohol problem for years. He might as well been driving a tricycle against a lamppost to achieve the same result, but the images wouldn’t be so spectacular. And trust me, the end is not as moralizing as I read here and there but shows how someone who can make that click in his life also ensures that his life and environment changes dramatically.
My rating 9/10
Links : IMDB