First of all let me just say if you are a nervous flier, you might want to steer clear of this film. It’s a compliment to the special effects team, but the opening crash sequence is heart-stopping. However, if you feel you can with stand a nosedive shot from the cockpit of a commercial airliner, this happens to be a gripping and brilliantly acted film.
Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington) is a great pilot, in fact he is an exceptional pilot—he is also an addict. So when he wakes up on a normal morning after a normal night of partying with his favorite flight attendant Trina (Nadine Velazquez), he has a quick drink and a line of cocaine to normalize before his flight. This flight, however, is anything but normal. Almost immediately, there is a major mechanical failure and the plane is falling out of the sky. Whip never loses composure and using some wildly unconventional tactics lands the plane with minimal casualties.
So you can see the problem. Whip does what almost no pilot drunk or sober could do, yet nevertheless, he was drunk. He was piloting a passenger plane drunk and he’s a hero. So we find ourselves on the horns of a dilemma.
First and foremost, this is a film about addiction. Whip is an alcoholic, and not a gimlets-after-golf alcoholic. He is a lying, obnoxious, entitled drunk. In the end, what seems to be the best outcome and what would actually be the best outcome are two very different things.
It’s a 7.