Flight stars Denzel Washington in a new live-action movie by Robert Zemeckis, which walks over all the sentimental tracks he’s known for. The film is a study of an alcoholic man and pilot, a ticking combination as it is: Whip Whitacker, constantly drinking, even while piloting 102 people on an airplane. Watching the man drive a car under the influence makes you think how easy it must be for him, though its no less illegal.

After he successfully lands an airplane doomed to fail by erroneous malfunction, he must battle the ensuing rage over his blood alcohol level that’s far off the legal level for even driving a vehicle. But he’s not taking on this battle sober. He’s a steady alcoholic, drowning away his alcohol problem with an alcohol problem.

Whip not only has to work through an alcohol problem through the course of the film, but a minor drug addiction as well. He, and his new girlfriend, who he meets in the hospital after she overdoses and he crashes, both need rehab. But Whip denies it, a process of self-loathing that ultimately leads to an ending characteristic of Hollywood.

John Goodman brings on his massive charisma as Whip’s ready-to-help drug dealer, and Don Cheadle stars as a Chicago lawyer working to save Whip from prison-time. Flight is a straight-forward, but effective morality tale, with enough reality to out-weigh the sparkly sensibilities.

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