MOVIE REVIEW: "Flight"

This weekend, with some life long near and dear (non-aviation) friends, I saw the movie:




I had been pre-warned that this movie was a dud in regards to technicalities and flight deck scenes so I wasn't that disappointed, especially when I only saw one flight deck scene - although it terrified me to think of being in the plane during the crash scene in real life.  

I must say that with fictitious airline and plane (a bad cross between an MD-88 and a CRJ), the flight deck scene was the only action scene throughout the whole movie.  (Perhaps that's a good thing because I refuse to re-watch United 93 after the same friend I saw this movie "Flight" with have been asking me to re-watch "United 93.")

We all must realize that Hollywood will always be that: Hollywood, but one of the things that Hollywood does best is get an agenda or message across.  And the one important message I feel that this movie was portraying is that we have a serious issue that mechanical errors with aircraft only go so far, it is also with pilot error not only inside the flight deck but out.  What happens outside in most, if not all, carrys in - especially a drug/alcohol addiction.  With pilots leading very stressful lives, nothing is a surprise in this world, anymore.  I have a feeling we will be seeing more movies like this on the horizon, and for good reason.  To do just that - to get that message across.

I have always been told, no matter what profession a person is, we leave what happens at home and in our personal lives outside the office door and vice-versa.  It is hard not to carry God forbid a death of a loved one, a divorce, an illness, etc. anywhere no matter what profession.  On the other hand it is true, if you are into aviation, and/or carry an aviation position (pilot, crew, ATC, mechanic, etc.) it is sort of difficult to keep your job from entering your own home - especially if you are dealing with stress on the job to which commercial pilots, less alone special education teachers, are notorious for.

What is most important and portrayed in this movie is that the lead character, Captain William "Whip" Whitaker played by no one better than Denzel Washington, let something that he was happening in his personal life - a drug/alcohol addiction enter the flight deck.  Many reviews of this movie have been given with many opinions to go with.  However, the big picture was that his personal life (i.e., the addiction) coincided with equipment failure which led to the crash scene after the beginning of the movie. 

Melissa Leo playing the role of NTSB investigator Ellen Block.
After the crash scene and before the NTSB investigation, he was assigned a union attorney who pledged to kill the toxicology report. He was given the answers to lie to the lead NTSB investigator Ellen Block during the final hearing.  My question is, even though they are there to help protect the pilots, why would the union help him lie to a federal agency to retain his license as a revenue pilot carrying future souls on board many more flights as a continued addict?  (One of my thoughts at the end of the movie being that the attorney representing him and the union both would've lost their credibility totally and would also have been held accountable for Capt. Whitaker's actions.)

Another part of the movie I would like to have a reference on is if God forbid a loss of crew were to occur and damages had to be paid, why would they be less than what the airline forks out to the families of a lost passenger?  The reasoning given in the movie was for the fact that when one becomes a revenue pilot or crew member, they accept being involved in potential "dangerous situations"  If that is the case, then, wouldn't that be true for a ticket holding passenger?  Wouldn't or shouldn't they both be paid the equal damages?








Overall, despite the Hollywoodification of the movie, (especially the bad cross between an MD-88 and a CRJ flying like an F-16), the movie was pretty good.  Yes, there were some technicalities which I found to have been obscured, but one of the best parts of the movie and a nice touch was the appearance and the role of this gentleman:




John Goodman playing the role of Harling Mays




And I always love a good British actress who hides her accent well - that also means YOU Kate Beckinsale!)

British actress Kelly Reilly playing the role of Nicole Maggen



Speaking of horizons, there was only one movie missing though from the previews and only one other person viewing this blog who knows which movie I am talking about.. It will be coming soon to a theater nearest you.  Keep your eyes out..




-JJ







Comments

  1. Jeremy... I know why they changed this movie from the original movie... a crash landing with a broken jack-screw (that would be impossible to fly) followed by a pilot who had a drinking problem wasn't "big enough" for Hollywood. Why would a crash (with survivors flying a plane that could not be flown) make a hero? Only if he flew upside down! And drinking? That's not a big deal... he has to be a coke head too! Drama.

    But the Union... they don't want their pilots to look bad.

    This was an excellent substance abuse movie if you knew nothing about flying and the industry. It was an okay movie if you flew planes. But... it was a huge hit in Hollywood.

    Did it set the stage for Flight For Control? Perhaps. Timing could be right. :)

    Excellent post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When Karlene posts a comment, I feel the real energy of something that I don't know what is it called. Sounds weird, doesn't it? But it's true. Karlene, great comment!

      OXXO
      Alex

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    2. Karlene, thank you so much for your insight! I agree, a great substance abuse movie. One of te scenes I felt was a little too unrealistic was after take off and post turbulence where the passengers started to clap as if he had just saved the world. In real life I found that to be a little unrealistic as if I was a non pilot and terrified of turbulence especially to that degree I would've either have been too terrified or pissed at the flight crew to be clapping. But then that's a minor point.

      Yes, Hollywood is all about... Hollywood. However on the postive rate of climb, looking forward to what is set to come..: a real pilot's movie. ;)

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    3. Alex! Thanks for stopping by.. Yes, Karlene's insight is awesome and we are in great company!

      Delete

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