Ratings for reviews will appear above the fold, while the review itself will appear below the fold to avoid spoilers for anyone that wants to go into it with a blank slate even though I’ll try to keep the spoilers to what can be seen in the trailers.
Jean-Paul’s rating: 4/5 stars
Captain Whip Whitaker is not a good man. He is an alcoholic. He is a drug addict. He also flies planes. It isn’t a question of if he’s sober enough to fly, it’s a question of if he could fly if he weren’t sober. He is what you would call a high-functioning alcoholic. You learn all this in the first ten minutes of the movie (or in the first thirty seconds of the trailer).
In the second coolest movie plane crash ever (the first coolest being in “The Grey”), Captain Whitaker pilots a doomed plane to a miraculous crash landing with minimal loss of life. I’m not sure if the physics are sound, but wow, is it a ride! It had me tense and gripping the armrests.
What follows is a character driven story about drug and alcohol addiction and the myriad of individuals who enable the behavior. Denzel Washington is one of those actors that I will go see in anything. He doesn’t disappoint in this film, playing a disturbingly realistic alcoholic. The supporting cast for this movie is top notch. John Goodman plays Whip’s best friend/dealer as the kind of character you’d expect John Goodman to play. Bruce Greenwood, who can never be in enough movies, and Don Cheadle, another excellent actor, round out the cast as two people trying to help Whip navigate the post crash catastrophe.
There is also a token love interest with a token female (Kelly Reilly) which is probably the weakest part of the movie. Don’t get me wrong, Kelly Reilly was great and she plays an important role in the development of Whip’s character, but she’s there more because it’s difficult to develop a character when he’s alone. She does star in one of the best scenes in the movie. What do you get when you cross a drug addict, a cancer patient, and a hero pilot in a hospital staircase sneaking a smoke? Some great dialogue! Yeah, all my jokes are this bad.
If you’re a character driven movie fan, you definitely want to see this movie. If you’re not a character driven movie fan, I went to see this movie with my brother (which will be a recurring theme) and he is definitely not a fan of character driven movies but he enjoyed it almost as much as I did. So I think I can safely say that if you enjoy movies, you will enjoy this film.