Denzel Washington’s most intense film is now streaming on Netflix

By Matthew Creith | Released

Denzel Washington Roman J. Israel, esq

Denzel Washington is a two-time Academy Award winner known for his dedication to the roles he plays on screen. He stormed into theaters in Richard Attenborough’s apartheid-era film scream for freedomWashington cemented its place in Hollywood with a standout performance in the 1989s glory. Since then, the New York-born actor has played a variety of characters that seem to challenge the status quo and make audiences think about complex situations in a whole new light. One of his most talked about performances was in 2012 with a starring role as Whip Whitaker in the film Flight. Now Washington fans can watch Flight at home as the film is currently streaming on Netflix.

Flight originally flew to theaters starring Denzel Washington as a drunk airliner pilot. During one of his flights, his remarkable flying skills stand him in good stead when he crash-lands a plane when a mechanical failure threatens the lives of everyone on board. Upon landing, it is revealed that almost all survive, as Whitaker managed to save all but two crew members and four passengers. Initially considered a hero, rumors of his alcohol abuse while flying lead to an investigation that uncovers his social life and personal demons. Flight is due to its sensational cast with ayellowstone Kelly Reilly, Don Cheadle, Bruce Greenwood, John Goodman and Melissa Leo.

Denzel Washington
Denzel Washington in Flight (2012)

Before Netflix bought the distribution rights Flight On its subscription-streaming platform, director Robert Zemeckis’ film about an alcoholic pilot skyrocketed at the box office grossing over $161 million on a budget of $31 million. The film was a critical hit at the time, with Rotten Tomatoes currently rating the Denzel Washington film as “Certified Fresh,” a score on its Tomatometer of 77%, and fans of the flick giving it a 75% audience rating. Likewise, Metacritic ranks Flight with a Metascore of 76 out of 40 critic reviews and a 7.3 User Score out of 413 reviews, which usually means generally positive reviews from critics and audiences alike.

Written by John Gatins, Flight is loosely based on a real plane crash which, unlike the events in the film, killed all the passengers and crew on board. According to Yahoo! films, Gatins was inspired by the heroic effort of Alaska Airlines Flight 261 pilot Ted Thompson, who successfully turned the plane upside down in 2000 to save everyone on board and slow their descent before crashing into the Pacific Ocean en route to San Francisco. A crew member from the real flight could be heard on the black box saying, “At least we’re flying upside down,” which is a similar line that made its way into it Flight also. Gatins created a space for his main protagonist, played by Denzel Washington, to save most of the people on board his plane, using similar techniques that Thompson tried unsuccessfully in real life.

Denzel Washington
Denzel Washington in Flight (2012)

The action sequence of the plane crash Flight is fascinating on its own, despite the dramatic tension of Denzel Washington’s character from Whip Whitaker’s investigation and subsequent drinking problems that occupy the film’s second and third acts. Yahoo! Movies at the time reported on the technical approach to the scene, in which the effect of turning the plane upside down was created by having a set built into a replica airplane cabin similar to one in real life and attached to a rotating machine, with all the actors and extras strapped to the set. The contraption appeared to weigh around 30,000 pounds and everyone portraying the passengers and crew of the fictional plane had to be hung upside down. Very little CGI was used for visual effect and the people on the plane can hardly be seen as they were actually hanging upside down.

Due to the film’s popularity and the success it had with critics upon its release in November 2012, Flight was the recipient of many awards season totals. Denzel Washington was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor, losing to Daniel Day-Lewis for his performance in Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln. John Gatins was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, losing to Django Unchained‘s Quentin Tarantino. For now, Flight is available to stream on Netflix!

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