Denzel Washington plays a not very nice man in Flight. In the opening scene we see him drinking and doing drugs at the same time he is telling his ex-wife he doesn’t have any money for his son’s school. There’s also a nice bit of T&A from the co-worker he spent the night with.
Now we get to a fundamental question of right and wrong and does it really matter? Denzel is a great pilot, in addition to be a rotten human being. This comes in handy since he has a job as an airline pilot. His copilot is not such a great pilot, so when the plane suffers a catastrophic failure, it’s up to Denzel to save the day. Which he does. So if you were on a plane falling out of the sky; would you rather have a brilliant pilot who happens to be a touch evil or a so-so pilot who prays and leads a good life?
But that whole question of whether or not Denzel is a great pilot who saved all those lives is never really addressed. No one cares what a great pilot he is, all they care about is covering up the fact that he’s a drunk and a drug addict.
The bulk of the film is watching Denzel’s pilot go from one bad decision to another. The best scene was the plane crash near the start of the film where our sort of hero calmly goes about the business of flying a plane that didn’t want to be flown. This is gripping stuff and the rest of the film is a slow wind down after the plane hits the ground.
I didn’t like Flight’s preachy ending and its parting shot to remind Denzel that he is still a pathetic loser.