falling down and rising up

flight movie posterMy father told me that he felt like realism killed literature.

He said that when he read a book, he did it for entertainment…and that when realism came into it the books stopped being as entertaining.

The new movie, Flight, with Denzel Washington is realistic.

A movie that is about a horrific plane crash would have to be realistic. A movie about substance abuse might be realistic.  This movie feels realistic on both counts.

It’s one of those movies that you watch hoping something good will happen.

There are two points in this movie where the main character rises to the challenge …one is obviously by circumstance…and the other by choice.

It would spoil the movie to give any clues to what the second opportunity is.

Denzel Washington’s character, Whip, is a talented pilot… and an alcoholic. Due to mechanical failure, the plane he is piloting (drunk and high on cocaine) goes into a dive.  He’s able to crash-land the plane after using unconventional and heroic efforts…and saves all but 6 of the people on board.  He is a hero.

Then…they start doing some investigating…and discover through toxicology reports and interviews with the rest of the crew that more might have been involved in the accident than “simple heroism”.

This is a dark movie.  It is hard to watch something so dark…but I stuck with it hoping for resolution of some kind. I wasn’t disappointed…the ending was a satisfying one.

I don’t know if I would call this movie entertaining, though.  Maybe this is what we call entertainment these days…if it confuses or terrifies or makes us sad…or moves us in any way…it’s getting a little closer to “art”…a little closer to entertainment.  I don’t really know.  I think that this movie was marketed as sort of an action picture…”Holy smokes!  Did you see what he did with that plane?!”….but it’s not really an action picture.  It’s a movie about falling until you can’t fall any farther…and the moment that we are able to stand again.  Maybe we don’t notice the light as much if it doesn’t shine through the darkest of situations.

Denzel does a great job.  There is a lot of depth to his character.  He plays a character who is unlikable but charming…who has taken himself down as far as he can…but it’s a character that you watch and hope that he can redeem himself somehow. Neither the movie or the lead actor holds back from showing the darkest side of his actions…and that’s hard to sit through.

I miss movies that were safe.  It’s hard to find a movie these days that is just entertaining…that doesn’t have something inserted to “contemporize” it…to bump it up to the most marketable rating.  We aren’t horrified by things like we used to be…between the news and “realistic” movies and all the other media we can blame…things don’t move us like they maybe used to…and when they do move us, it’s sometimes because the film makers pushed things just a little farther than what we’d grown used to.

There isn’t anything safe about this movie.  The plane goes down…Denzel goes down…nothing safe about either one. I think it’s a good movie, though…such a strong redemption that I’d have to call it a good movie.

I’m a sucker for a “happy” ending.

That’s reality.


About Peter Rorvig

I'm a non-practicing artist, a mailman, a husband, a father...not listed in order of importance. I believe that things can always get better....and that things are usually better than we think.

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