FLIGHT starring Denzel Washington
If you plan to see FLIGHT, you might want to wait until you have seen the film before reading further…
Actually, even if you do read this… go see the movie. It is one of the best movies I have seen in a very long time.
With so many movies using great special affects in search of that billion dollar payoff, it is director Robert Zemeckis (Cast Away and so many more) who has once again looked to the talent of a great actor to take us to a place where the human condition is illuminated with artful expertise.
How rare it is to see a movie that glorifies Taking Responsibility, a Big Brain Tool we discuss often. Denzel is brilliant as an alcoholic pilot whose plane breaks up in flight and whose ingenious maneuvering leads to a controlled crash-landing that loses six of the 102 souls on board, while saving ninety-six.
Throughout the film we find ourselves almost rooting for Denzel’s character, Whip, because of his aeronautical talent. After all, he saved lives. But it is revealed that he is a chronic alcoholic, and that he was high when the took the cockpit that fateful day.
The big pilot’s union bosses and the big airline owners do what ever they can to prevent this fact from coming to light; it is not in their interest. They use legal maneuvers to stop a damaging toxicology report from surfacing and they keep Whip away from scrutiny until there can be a hearing on the crash.
Everything is breaking Whip’s way and, at the hearing, he is handed the chance to blame a coworker who died on the plane for drinking some missing vodka on the plane. All Whip has to do is tell one more lie about an insignificant amount of alcohol and he is home free; his secret of alcoholism will be protected and his life can continue without blame.
But to the astonishment of all, in a moment of true clarity, Whip admits to drinking the vodka and further admits to being high the day of the plane crash and even admits to being high at the hearing.
He said it was like he could tell not tell one more lie. He had reached the limit of lies he could tell. Whip is finally coming to grips with his alcoholism.
This turning point moment captures the real life moment of so many others who have traveled the path of addiction. The act of taking responsibility is not honored in movies or television as much as deception, self-interest and fantasy.
Kudos to Mr. Zemeckis and Mr. Washington for putting this moment on the big screen. It is a classic moment portrayed by masters. It will put a dent in the universe.
Kevin Thomas McCarney
Flight is in theaters now.
© 2012 Kevin T. McCarney. All rights reserved.
(for more on this topic, see page 126 in the book)
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