Drink – and Fly??
For Wednesday October 2nd 2013
Between Us Only!
Drink and Fly?
Or The Mixing of Drinks and Drugs – Whilst Flying!
We always talk of DUI – Driving Under The Influence? But Drink and Fly too?
I was reading this scary news of some pilots admitting that they had gone to sleep whilst flying – in some cases both pilots at the same time! If that is not scary enough – I do not know what is! Unless one of them has ‘fake licenses’ in flying! As a kid – one of my life’s ambitions was to be a Pilot. Indeed, I believe that I would have made a good one too – if the qualifications were more directed ‘at not smoking and drinking at all’ – amongst the others!
I was really intrigued to watch this film Flight – it is a 2012 American drama film starring Denzel Washington – Whip Whitaker – and was nominated for the Academy Awards. The film message and theme is the ‘destruction of the family home’ by being Alcoholic – usually by the man – but in some cases for both the couple – in a worst case scenario! The victims – in any case – are the children more – if they too do not develop to being ‘alcoholics and drugs victims’ – and even prostitution – because of broken homes! In many cases, the vicious cycle continuous with them not being able to be ‘good parents’ to their children too!
About The Film. On October 14, 2011, Airline captain Whip Whitaker – Denzel Washington – awakens in his Orlando hotel room with flight attendant Katerina Márquez – Nadine Velazquez – after a night of sex, drinking, drug use, and very little sleep. After using cocaine to wake up, he boards SouthJet Flight 227 as pilot to Atlanta. After Whip threads the plane through severe turbulence at takeoff, copilot Ken Evans takes over while Whip discreetly mixes vodka in his orange juice and takes a nap.
Have you seen a Passenger Plan Fly This Way?
He is jolted awake as the plane begins its descent, and the aircraft goes into a steep dive. Unable to regain pitch control, Whip rolls the plane upside down to arrest the dive. While this is happening in the cockpit a young boy hasn’t done his seat belt properly so Katerina undoes her seat belt saving the child but ultimately causing her death.
Meanwhile Nicole – Kelly Reilly – is seen going out of her house to her drug dealer after begging for some heroin she is giving some, but an extremely strong dosage and is told only to smoke it and some cocaine for if she gets depressed. When she returns home she finds her door unlocked and enters to find her landlord. She tricks him and locks him out before knocking over her box of drugs seeing the needle she insert the heroin and injects herself before having an overdose. As she is wheeled out of the house by a paramedic the upside down plane is seen flying over the flats.
Back on the plane with the engines failing he realizes they will not make it to a runway, so he rolls the plane upright and manages to make a forced landing in a field. He loses consciousness on impact and is dragged out of the aircraft by a passenger. Whip awakens in an Atlanta hospital with minor injuries, where he is greeted by his old friend Charlie Anderson – Bruce Greenwood – who represents the airline’s Pilots Union.
He tells Whip that he saved 96 out of 102 people on board, 2 crew and 4 passengers, but an National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) official informs him Katerina was among those killed. While sneaking a cigarette in the stairwell, Whip meets Nicole, who is recovering from an overdose of heroin, and promises to visit her when they leave the hospital. In the morning, his friend and drug dealer, Harling Mays John Goodman – picks him up and sneaks him away from the hospital.
Whip drives to his late father’s farm and dumps out all his alcohol. When he meets Charlie and attorney Hugh Lang – Don Cheadle – they explain that the NTSB performed a toxicology screen while he was unconscious, showing that Whip was intoxicated. The results could send him to prison on alcohol, drug, and manslaughter charges. Hugh promises to get the toxicology report voided on technical grounds, but Whip leaves in a fury and seeks out Nicole.
He finds her bailing on her lease, bribes her landlord not to pursue her, and brings her to the farm. Nicole and Whip soon become intimate, but Whip begins drinking again while Nicole is trying to stay clean and sober. He then attends Katerina Márquez funeral whereupon he meets Margaret he persuades her to tell the NTSB that he was sober upon the day of the crash.
Nicole brings him to a recovery meeting. Whip leaves early to visit with his Co-pilot Ken Evans who remains hospitalized, has recently come out of his induced coma, but remains severely injured. He tells Whip that both his legs and pelvis are crushed and his has little to no chance of walking unaided and no chance of ever flying a plane again.
Whip is sympathetic towards Evans injuries. However Evans explains how he knew Whip was drunk and how he could smell the gin and vodka on Whip, but believes all people where put on earth for a reason and Whips hasn’t come yet. So therefore Evans will not tell the NSTB about Whip being drunk.
Nicole and Whip catch up with each other back at the farm. Whip importunes Nicole to run away with him. She demurs: and as soon as Whip is drunk again, Nicole leaves.
When Whip finds the media outside his farm’s gate, he drives drunk to the home of his ex-wife and son, who compel him to leave. In leaving his wife’s home, he is mobbed by the press and clearly presents as not playing with a full deck. Whip flees to Charlie’s home and begs to stay with Charlie’s family, vowing not to drink again before the NTSB hearing. The night before the hearing, Whip is moved into a guarded hotel room to ensure he does not get drunk. His minibar has only nonalcoholic beverages, but when he finds the door to the adjacent room unlocked, Whip discovers it has a full minibar.
Charlie and Hugh find him the next morning, passed out, and still intoxicated. They call Harling, who revives him with cocaine for the hearing. At the hearing, Ellen Block – Melissa Leo – the lead NTSB investigator, explains that a damaged elevator assembly jackscrew was the primary cause of the crash. She commends Whip on his valor and skill, explaining that no other pilots were able to land the plane in simulations following the crash.
Then she reveals that two empty vodka bottles were found in the trash of the plane, but none were served to the passengers. Only one of the crew’s toxicology reports was positive for alcohol, although one was excluded. Since Katerina’s report was positive for alcohol, Block asks Whip if he believes that she drank it. Rather than lie and permanently taint her good name, Whip admits that he drank it, that he flew intoxicated, and that he is intoxicated at that moment.
Thirteen months later, an imprisoned Whip tells a support group of fellow inmates that he is glad to be sober and does not regret doing the right thing, because he finally feels “free”. He tells the support group he lost his piloting license, but not his faith in telling the truth.
He has pictures of Nicole and other family and friends on the wall of his cell, along with greeting cards congratulating him on being sober for a year. He is working to rebuild his relationship with his son, who visits his father to talk with him about a college application essay on “the most fascinating person I’ve never met.” His son begins by asking, “Who are you?” Whip replies “That’s a good question.”
If this will not make you think about life – nothing else will!
By: Majid Al-Suleimany
Date – September 30th 2013