Flying high, dramatic film focuses on highs and lows of addiction:

Courtesy photo.

By Ivan Del Val:

On Oct. 26, President Donald Trump declared the opioid crisis a national emergency, but that didn’t provide any additional funding. Does that not defeat the purpose of declaring a national emergency, if it does not provide additional money to take on the problem? That’s beside the point though, the point is, America has an addiction problem, but not many people are willing to take the bull by the horns.

Director Robert Zemeckis took the bull by the horns in Nov. 2012 when the R-rated movie “Flight” was released. The movie starred Denzel Washington as Whip Whitaker, a pilot that had a major problem with drugs and alcohol. An event that was beyond his control threatened to expose his addiction, and he struggles to end his addiction, or at least keep it under control to fool everyone around him into thinking he’s fine.

Washington did an outstanding job portraying such character, and the Academy Award for Best Actor was well deserved. The movie lacked more major characters. I understand it’s meant to be about Whitaker and his addiction, but a few more major characters would’ve added a stronger feeling of pity and sympathy.

Many have heard the anti-smoking commercial that issues the eerie “don’t let tobacco control you” warning. It’s pretty safe to declare that drugs and tobacco control Whitaker. As soon as he opens his eyes, he takes a drink. Even at the hospital, he can barely walk, yet he asks for some “smokes.” Unfortunately, that’s how plenty of people live everyday, drink-to-drink and smoke-to-smoke.

As someone who’s witnessed family members with an alcohol problem, Zemeckis portrayed that issue pretty accurately. The movie has a good message; movies with a message are directed toward a broad audience, not just a specific kind. Anyone can receive a message, no matter the age, gender, race or ethnicity. According to Box Office Mojo, the movie was produced with a $31 million budget and managed to gross $161 million worldwide.

The strongest aspect of the movie was definitely the symbolism. Zemeckis efficiently showed how people with addictions endanger the life of others, turn their lives upside down and even have terrible consequences. He made Whitaker seem like a hero, but only to an extent. At one point he falls and struggles to get up, even after he proclaims the typical “I don’t need help, I can stop on my own” phrase. However, Zemeckis managed to include the fact that those that are supposedly trying to help end up feeding him his addiction, which is the sad reality.

The lighting, camera angles and music all help create a feeling of empathy. The sad and emotional scenes are usually dark, cloudy or rainy. The slow music and tranquil music helped make those scenes more powerful. The scenes that create a sense of hope and optimism are usually well lit or outdoors. The close-ups effectively show the emotion the characters are portraying. All of these combined create the perfect pace.

All movies have foreshadowing, but too much foreshadowing is a bad thing. The end was definitely not my favorite. Ironically, I was upset because it ended how I wanted, and was expecting it to end. I don’t like cliffhangers, but I think in this case that would’ve been the perfect ending; to let the audience decide for themselves. Overall, I give this movie a score of 8/10.

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