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Nick and the other boys (and Vicki Lewis) working the hotspot of air traffic control in New York are impressed with themselves, to say the least. They thrive on the no-room-for-error, fast-paced job and let it infect their lives. The undisputed king of pushing tin, "The Zone" Falzone, rules his workplace and his wedded life with the same short-attention span that gets planes where they need to be in the nick of time. That is, until Russell Bell, a new transfer with a reputation for recklessness but a record of pure perfection shatters the tensely-held status quo. The game of one-upmanship between the two flies so high as to lead Nick into Russell's bed with his wife. His sanity slipping just as fast as his hold on #1, Cusack's controller is thrown out-of-control when Thornton's wanderer quietly leaves town. Nick must now find a way to regain his sanity and repair his marriage before he breaks down completely. Written by
Billy Bob Thornton's character (Russell Bell) states in the movie that he is half Irish (his father) and half Choctaw Indian (his mother). In real life, Mr. Thornton's father is of Irish ancestry, while his mother is half Choctaw Indian and half Italian. See more »
When Russell Bell stands on the runway to feel the effect of wing tip vortices from a landing 747-400, he stands directly under the jet as it flies over head. Wing tip vortices roll off the tips of wings in a swirling motion and travel outward and downward. In reality, one would need to be positioned several feet outboard of the wing tips to feel the effect; farther if the airplane were higher. See more »
Okay, several parts of this movie were a bit far-fetched; (the wake turbulence from a heavy jet being one of them)but from a technical standpoint I can say that the phraseology, hazing, harassment, and ego trips are very accurate. Why? In a word, pride. Perhaps false pride at times, but pride nonetheless. The U.S. air traffic control system handles more traffic in a single day than any other country does in a week. Check the numbers, kids. It's true. The training is rigorous and relentless, and, at the risk of sounding like a commercial for the Marines, if you happen to be the one out of about a thousand who makes it through training to become a full performance level controller, it becomes a badge of honor. Very few people can do it. It is a close-knit family, which was also displayed in the film. If you'll notice the scene where a particular departure didn't "tag up" and one controller didn't notice it, several others jumped in to help out, and all joking and hazing stopped. Forgive my preaching, but this is the first movie that actually gave a somewhat accurate view of my profession, so hopefully I can be forgiven for being protective. (By the way, if I was married to someone who looked like Angelina Jolie, I'd keep her in the woods away from the slugs I work with, too.)
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