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considered a  hero  because  other   pilots  try  to  land  the  plain  in   simulaGons  set  up  with  a  similar   By:  Jack  Evans     engine  failure  and  are  not  able  to.     A  member  of  the  flight  crew  said     to  Washington  aNer  the  plane   The  movie  Flight  is  just  another   crash,  “The  FAA  and  the  NTSB   one  of  the  most  recent  hits  Denzel   took  10  pilots,  placed  them  in   Washington  has  stared  in.  The   simulators,  recreated  the  events   movie  was  directed  by  Robert   that  led  to  this  plane  falling  out  of   Zemeckis  who  is  known  for  his   the  sky.  Do  you  know  how  many   other  hit  Castaway  back  in  2000.     of  them  were  able  to  safely  land   Flight  is  categorized  as  a  Drama/   the  planes?  Not  one.  Every  pilot   thriller  and  the  drama  side  is   crashed  the  aircraN,  killed     played  out  through  the  enGre   storyline.  The  movie  begins  with   Washington,  hung  over  from  the   night  before,  geIng  onto  an   airplane  he  is  going  to  be  piloGng.   Just  before  taking  off  he  drinks   more  while  on  the  plane.  While  in   flight  there  is  an  engine  failure  and   the  plane  goes  down  but   Washington  manages  to  land  in  a   field  and  all  but  six  people  survive   the  crash.  Washington  wakes  up   from  a  coma  several  days  aNer  the   crash  and  learns  that  a  toxicology   report  was  taken  from  him  aNer   that  crash  and  he  tested  posiGve   for  alcohol.  The  public  does  not   know  this  so  Washington  is    

Flight Review  


everybody on  board.  You  were  the   only  one  who  could  do  it!”   Throughout  the  movie  from  the   point  of  the  crash  Washington   tries  to  get  people  on  his  side  to   prove  his  innocence  and  that  he   was  in  a  good  state  of  mind  to  fly   the  plane  when  he  was  obviously   not.      The  movie  ends  with   Washington  at  a  trial  for  the   invesGgaGon  into  the  cause  of  the   plane  crash.  The  two  boYles  that   Washington  had  drank  while  flying   the  plane  were  found  and   Washington  was  asked  if  he  had   drank  them.  He  responded  he  

could not  tell  one  more  lie.  He   came  clean  about  everything  right   then  and  there  in  front  of  the   whole  courtroom.  Washington   responded,  when  asked  about  the   days  leading  up  to  the  flight,  if  he   had  been  drinking  and  he   originally  told  them  he  had  not  but   later  in  the  trial  came  clean  and   said,  “I  drank  the  vodka  boYles.  I   drank  the  vodka  boYles  on  the   plane!  …  I  was  drunk,  I’m  drunk   now;  I’m  drunk  right  now.  Mrs.   Black,  because  I’m  an  alcoholic.”    Throughout  the  movie  he   seems  to  not  be  able  to  be  fully   truthful  about  anything  and  this  


conGnues to  just  bring  more   trouble  for  him  as  the  movie  goes   on.  Prior  to  this  realizaGon  and  the   morality  of  the  movie  Washington   makes  a  lot  of  bad  choices  and  lies   to  everyone.  As  the  audience   watching  the  movie,  we  can  see   from  the  very  beginning  when   Washington  steps  foot  on  the   plane  he  begins  to  lie.  He  lies  to   the  co-­‐pilot  that  he  is  fine.  He  lies   to  a  flight  aYendant  and  tells  her   that  he  is  fine.  Over  the  course  of   the  movie  Washington  is  haunted   by  his  own  alcoholism  and  drug  use   problems.  Clearly  he  has  a  problem   with  alcoholism  the  enGre  Gme  but   he  either  lies  about  it  or  argues   with  everyone  that  he  does  not   throughout  the  enGre  movie.   MulGple  Gmes  within  the  movie   the  viewer  can  see  Washington  tell   people  that  he  is  going  to  quit   drinking,  but  again  that  just   perpetuates  more  lies.  He  tells  his   lawyer  the  night  before  the  trial  is   going  to  start  that  he  is  not  going   to  bed  and  he  will  be  up  early  in   the  morning.  This  was  just  another   lie  that  he  told.  When  his  lawyer   comes  to  get  him  in  the  morning  

he finds  the  room  trashed.  The   night  before  Washington  had   snuck  into  another  room  in  his   hotel  and  drank  everything  out  of   the  mini-­‐fridge  passed  out  and   gashed  his  head  open  when  he   fell.      Washington  finally  comes  to   the  realizaGon  that  he  cannot  tell   one  more  lie  and  walk  away  free   and  clear  of  all  the  trouble  caused   from  the  crash  but  he  is  not  able   to.  If  he  would  have  told  one   more  lie  he  would  have  looked   like  a  hero  and  been  able  to  be  a   pilot  again.  However,  this  was   when  morality  set  in  and   Washington  finally  told  the  truth   in  front  of  everyone.  This  change   in  Washington’s  character  shows   the  conservaGve  morality  we   expect  to  see  out  of  all  people.   We  expect  that  if  anyone  is  put  in   that  situaGon  that  they  would  do   the  right  thing  and  tell  the  truth.      Unfortunately  a  lot  of  people   in  real  life  would  not  follow   conservaGve  morality  and  may   decide  to  go  the  other  way.  By   this  I  mean  they  would  not  have   told  the  truth  like  Washington  


did. The  end  that  the   director  decided  to  put   in  effecGvely  delivered   the  theme  in  a  very   dramaGc,  edge-­‐of-­‐your-­‐ seat  way.  This  ending   shows  the  viewer  that   some  people  believed   to  be  ‘bad’  are  actually   good  or  truthful  in  the   end.  This  movie  would   have  had  a  very   different  message  had   Washington  not   showed  this   convenGonal  morality   he  ended  up  having.  If   Washington  had  not   told  the  truth  would  it   have  been  as  good  of  a   movie?  Would  people   actually  want  to  go  see   a  movie  where  a  drug-­‐ using  alcoholic  pilot   crashes  a  plane  killing   six  people  and  then  just   walks  away  from  it  with   no  consequences  and   shows  no  morality?  I   hope  most  people   would  agree  that  that        

would not  have  made  a   very  good  movie.      Will  Leitch,  a  known movie  criGc,  states,   “UnGl  the  last  10   minutes,  Flight  in  large   part  resembles  one  of   those  tough,  dark   character  studies  they   used  to  make  in  the  '70s, like  The  Gambler  or  The   Verdict,  in  which  we   watch  a  man  who  has  


lost control  of  his  life  face  external   circumstances  that  give  him  one   last  chance  to  save  himself.”  He   goes  on  to  say,  “Today,  we  need  to   know  everything's  going  to  be  OK.   For  about  two  hours,  Flight  is   surprisingly  ballsy  for  a   mainstream  Hollywood  film.  Then   it  loses  its  nerve.  That,  perhaps,   was  inevitable.”  This  review  in  my   own  opinion  is  just  trying  to  find   something  to  criGcize.  The  ending   comes  as  a  surprise  due  to  the  fact   that  Washington  is  unable  to  tell   the  truth  about  anything  else  in   the  movie.  In  addiGon  to  this  is  it   really  that  the  inevitable  that  the   Washington,  portrayed  as  a  liar   and  terrible  person  though  out  the   movie,  ends  up  being  a  moral  hero   in  the  end?  That  outcome  to  this   movie  seems  preYy  unpredictable.   Another  well-­‐known  criGc,   MaryAnn  Johanson  writes,  “when   they  have  to  choose  between   taking  the  road  that’s  dangerous   and  a  liYle  bit  risky  but  down   which  lies  greatness,  or  taking  the   road  that  is  safe  and  comfortable   and  doesn’t  challenge  the  vast   majority  of  people  who  don’t  want  

to be  challenged  by  it’s-­‐just-­‐a-­‐ movie.”  The  ending  of  the  movie  is   criGcized  similarly  to  what  Leitch   wrote.  Again  I  think  that  these  are   inaccurate  criGcism  due  to  the  fact   that  the  ending  of  this  movie  is   very  impackul.  It  leaves  us  as  the   audience  thinking  about  the   goodness  in  people  that  may  not   always  be  expressed.  The  ending   of  this  movie  is  what  makes  it  the   great  movie  it  is.  The  choice  of   ending  the  director  made  does  not   show  a  lack  of  willingness  to  take   risk.  Instead  it  shows  a  willingness   to  take  a  risk  by  turning  this  bad   character  into  someone  who  the    


audience should  view  as  a  morally   just  person  in  the  end.  Overall,   while  the  focus  of  the  movie  plot   was  the  decline  of  Washington,   the  movie  did  well  due  to  the   realizaGon  that  Washington   comes  to  at  the  end  and  the   theme  of  morality  associated  with   it.  The  fact  that  this  movie  

portrays the  good  morality  that   we,  as  an  audience,  want  to  see   and  like  to  believe  is  in  everyone,   even  the  bad  people  like   Washington.  The  movie  uGlizes   Washington’s  inability  to  tell  the   truth  to  really  exemplify  the   change  he  makes  by  being  able  to   be  honest  at  the  end.        

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