Review by Dan Skip Allen
I don't watch the news anymore, but when I did, I was always interested in human interest stories like the one featured in On a Wing and a Prayer. I'd see people on talk shows like Ellen or Oprah and be amazed by their stories. Inevitably, these true stories would be made into a movie or television series like this one was. It's just the nature of the beast. This one was one I hadn't heard about, but glad I got to see the movie based on it.
Doug White (Dennis Quaid) is a family man who has hobbies or interests like anybody else. One of them is flying and the other is barbecuing. He even wins BBQ contests with the help of his wife's special sauce. He's close with his family and brother. When a tragedy happens, he and his family have to fly to Florida for the funeral. While flying back home, the pilot goes unconscious, and Doug has to fly the airplane.
As I said, you hear about these stories on the news or on a talk show, but you don't actually know what goes into them entirely. This story has a lot of moving pieces, and that's what makes it all the more interesting. Multiple people from different states and cities are involved in helping this man with this type of plane which he has never flown before in his life. All these moving parts make the story more dramatic and interesting.
There are a few elements in this movie that hit home for me. One of them is the daughters who are coming into their own as young women, and the other is the Christian angle. These aspects of the film were interesting, because they were reasons why this man had to survive. His wife wanted him to believe in Christianity, and he wanted to save his family. There was a reason for all this.
Dennis Quaid has played many different kinds of characters in his long and storied career. He's played coaches and fathers galore in his lifetime. His father figure in this movie was one I envied, because he had such a good life. The main event in the film is a way for us as viewers to see who this man really is as a parent, husband, and brother. How he handles himself is pretty cool, not including what he did under pressure.
When you have a film with an establishing event like this, you have to make it realistic. There were many scenes of the plane from the outside and other scenes from the cockpit. The editing of these scenes was pretty good. Throw in the back and forth between the various other locations and characters, and you have a well-edited film. This means a lot in the context of what the director Sean McNamara was trying to accomplish with this movie.
On a Wing and a Prayer is a great title, and the film that goes along with that title is pretty good as well. Dennis Quaid gives a good performance, but the story and editing are the real winners here. This story was very interesting, and I'm glad I had a chance to see this movie. The editing made it all come together in a way that made it emotional and a real world type situation. I hope people give this a shot this weekend.
On a Wing and a Prayer streams on Prime Video beginning April 7.