Starring Denzel Washington
Directed by Robert Zemeckis
Release Date: November 2, 2012
Addiction does not discriminate. It does not care what color you are, what religion, what socioeconomic group you represent or what occupation you may have. Addiction makes honest people into liars, sane people delusional and successful people into convicts. It is that potent.
Addiction also has the ability to make people use their friends and loved ones to fuel its desires and needs. Addicted persons quickly divide their loved ones into groups of enablers and enemies. The person who is unfortunate enough to fall prey to this disease will use anyone and everyone to fulfill his or her own needs, often to the humiliation and disappointment of family, friends, co-workers and, at times, even perfect strangers. The disease saps the afflicted of even the basic reasons for living, turning life into and obsessive search for the next drink or fix. Contrary to some popular opinion, addition is not a sign of "weakness" or personality defect. It is a disease with genetic and social origins and consequences.
All of this behavior is perfectly on display in "Flight", the story of an alcoholic commercial airline pilot who miraculously lands a defective plane, saving the lives of the majority of people on board. The pilot is Whip Whitaker who is portrayed magnificently by Denzel Washington. Whitaker is initially hailed as a hero but quickly turns villain when it is learned that blood toxicology tests taken at the crash site revealed him to be heavily under the influence of drugs and alcohol. The majority of the movie shows us Whip's desperate attempts to control his addiction while trying to salvage his reputation and career. The wide ranging ripple effect of an individual's addiction is very dramatically and realistically shown in Whip's co-workers, life-long friends and, first and foremost, in his family.
This movie is very well done and joins a group of important and honest portrayals of addiction. The crowd reaction was interesting. During several scenes there was inappropriate laughter. I can only figure that this came from the public's discomfort with the thought of a functioning professional being addicted to drugs and alcohol. People aren't used to thinking of their pilot, their judge or their doctor suffering from addiction.
This is a very well done movie and the acting by the entire cast is exceptional, led by the sterling performance by Denzel Washington.