Actors who can capture the ravages of substance abuse often attract the acclaim of their peers in the Academy Award community. This year, Bruce Dern earned an Academy Award nomination for "Nebraska," where he played a character who has suffered from an alcohol problem for much of his life. Last year, Denzel Washington earned an Oscar nomination for playing an alcoholic in "Flight."
In "Flight," Washington plays Whip Whitaker, a commercial airline pilot whose addiction to alcohol led to the collapse of his marriage. After a night of extreme partying with a flight attendant, a hung over Whip must handle a plane during extreme turbulence. The aircraft has a series of problems, but Whip, who has consumed alcohol on the flight itself, successfully lands the plane in a field. Most of the passengers and crew survive. Whip learns there will be an investigation and that he will go to prison if it is found he was drinking.
"Flight" has an excellent cast. Denzel Washington is at the top of his game. Although his character is a heavy drinker, he is also a very skilled pilot. Washington depicts him as smart enough to know he has problems, but also weak when his body yearns for the next drink. Another strong performance is by Kelly Reilly, who plays a drug addict who becomes romantically involved with Whip.
This movie is directed by Robert Zemeckis. He makes the plane in turbulence scene intense enough to scare even the most seasoned air traveler. Also, he brings comic relief to the movie. John Goodman is very funny in a supporting role, playing a friend of Whip.
"Flight" is a very enjoyable film that is a great choice for fans of Denzel Washington.