Denzel Washington has won two Academy Awards—for Glory and Training Day— and in Flight he proves why he deserves one more. Washington gives a fearless performance that seems as effortless as his character is in denial of his alcoholism. As pilot Captain Whip Whitaker, Washington would make even the bravest of beings never travel by plane again.
Flight begins with a devastating plane crash that if handled by any other pilot would end the lives of everyone aboard. But Washington’s substance dependent Capt. Whitaker’s decision to invert the descending plane turns him into an hero, by subconscious practice. Yet the film is careful in revealing his alcohol and cocaine troubles, and balancing the focus of the subsequent legal battles.
In doing so, the film dares to ask if a flawed hero can exist unconditionally? Meaning, can a hero be hero if he’s troubled? In any case, it’s clear his drinking didn’t cause the accident; however, it’s an issue that cannot be ignored. And neither can this film. B+