A man wakes up having blacked out the night before, for a moment he feels fine, rested until he starts to wonder how he got there. How he made it from outside to bed? He turns over to see a bin lying beside his bed and the contents of some of last nights dinner are in it, the rest are over and down the side of his bed. He gets out of bed thinking that’s the worst part but the bottle of wine, 3 beers and whiskey he had been drinking are also all over the floor so much so that it has flowed from the edge of the wall to under his bed. He spends the better part of the day cleaning up the mess before going to see the movie ‘Flight’ about an alcoholic airline pilot.
‘Flight’ is a good film and I dare say I might be actually qualified to say that Denzel gives a great performance, not as a pilot but as an alcoholic and it’s interesting to see his character’s story plays out. I think the movie does a great job of showing how people can stop drinking when they think it’s become a problem but fall back on it when things go wrong and out of control. I like that it shows that alcohol isn’t always the source of the problem but a solution to one that in reality makes it a bigger problem.
Another great scene is when his character sits listening to other alcoholics talking about their problems but angrily walks out the meeting finding no relation to them. In a way lying to himself but also putting himself beyond those other people with addictions. He doesn’t have a problem. He’s insulted to be compared to those that do. Don’t some of us also think that? We don’t want to compare our mistakes to those of others because no, we aren’t like them, we’re different.
In ways we the film going audience are sympathetic to the character and also equally despise him for not wanting to be punished for his problem. The punishment being jail time even though he had saved lives. Can we condemn a man for desperately wanting to save his ass for a personal problem after having done such an amazing feet? He certainly battles those questions too and does so with the bottle. Holding a bottle of hard licquor in his hand and choosing between oblivion or cold reality that seems hopeless. Who hasn’t been there at times.
I’m hitting spoiler territory with this next part. Film critic Mark Kermode mentioned in his review that there’s a point in the film where the wing of the airplane clips the top of a church tower and from this point you can see where the movie might be going. Admittedly I didn’t see it going that way unless the church goers were going to sue him and blame his alcoholism on the damage to the church. I felt some frustration that the character is saved in a moment of desperation when he whispers the words “god help me under his breath”. Some characters around him are believers in God but throughout most of the film he never comes across as a man who even has God on his mind.
Anyway, it’s a great film and an excellent performance by Denzel Washington who has said he didn’t even drink while making this film. That’s acting folks.
Favorite Quote: “I drink because I CHOOSE TO!” – Whip