I’m guessing absolutely, since you’ll think, “Even when the hydraulics don’t work and the plane plummets, a masterful pilot can save lives!
“Even though he’s completely wasted!”
Denzel gives a truly great performance in the tale of personal redemption, and the interesting thing is you’re not completely sure where your loyalties as a viewer lie.
You like the character on some levels and know he’s a really knowledgeable miracle worker, but you’re also aware that he’s a mess who’s caused unnecessary risk for others and himself many times.
That’s more textured than the addict-causes-an-accident-and-has-to-grow-up formula pic we’d usually get.
After the New York Film Festival showing yesterday, screenwriter John Gatins said the film was created out of his two biggest fears–“drinking myself to death and dying in a plane crash.”
Denzel was asked what the toughest scene was for him and he smilingly replied, “Right now.”
And Don Cheadle—who plays the lawyer who quashes evidence–was asked if the movie has changed his experience with flying.
“That’s probably why I haven’t seen it yet,” he answered, looking anxious.
Gatins said he was confused when a friend compared the script–which was started in 1999–to the real-life landing on the Hudson performed by “Sully” Sullenberger.
“He’s a good guy,” said Gatins, comparing Sully to the film’s “Whip.”
But when Denzel was asked how he feels about playing unsympathetic characters, he replied of Whip, “I like him.”
So do I.
And like I said, that’s what gives the film its fascination.
And I couldn’t be any more nervous about flying than I already am, so what the hell.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 15, 2012