Everything you've heard about Denzel Washington's performance in the remarkable "Flight" is true. It's likely the best of his career and it is one that is especially resonant with those of us recovering from alcoholism and drug addiction.
He simply nails the addictive personality as Captain Whip Whitaker, who miraculously lands a disintegrating airplane, saving all but six of those on board, but faces the possibility of life in prison because he did it drunk. He acts from a script written by John Gatins and directed by Academy Award winner ("Forest Gump") Robert Zemekis, a man known more for action pictures than this kind of thoughtful, compelling, even upsetting work.
I found myself reliving difficult memories at every turn with Washington's portrayal of a man lying to himself and everybody who would listen, drinking himself to sure destruction and hanging on to the last thread of denial until it finally breaks in a predictable, but powerful finish.
Washington is surrounded by strong performances (and authentic southern accents, though Washington--to his everlasting credit--doesn't attempt one; he's from New York and it simply wouldn't work). The best of them is from John Goodman, a drug dealer and Whitaker's only real remaining friend. This is the second scene-stealer in a couple of months for Goodman, who (with Alan Arkin) simply walked off with "Argo."
If you're a recovering drunk (or druggie), one who isn't recovering or somebody who's interested in how this disease works, the movie will get you inside for a while--and it will let you out. A safe way to understand hell, it is.