Flightplan
Director: Robert Schwentke
Writer: Peter A. Dowling & Billy Ray
Producer: Brain Grazer (Cinderella Man, 8 Mile, A Beautiful Mind)
Starring: Jodie Foster, Peter Saragaard, Sean Bean, Kate Beahan, Erika Christensen
Rating:PG-13
read my spoiler disclaimer



     Will wonders never cease? The plot "twist" I thought was coming, was in fact, not the case. Jodie Foster does NOT have multiple personalities. To those unfamiliar, "Flightplan" is the story of a woman traveling with her daughter to America from Germany on board the biggest passenger plane ever made. Coincidentally, she also designed it. You see the preposterousness beginning to grow already don't you? Still, it's Jodie Foster and I give it the benefit of the doubt. Anyway, after falling asleep, she wakes up to find her daughter has gone missing. A search ensues, even though no one on board the plane ever remembers seeing the girl, she is not on the passenger manifest and there is no boarding pass to be found. This leads to a frantic Jodie Foster running up and down aisles and sneaking into and out of crawlspaces, hatches, etc; eventually causing mass panic and chaos.

      My expectations for this film were low, so as things got rolling and I found myself more and more immersed in the story, I realized I was really enjoying myself. The suspense and action was enough to suspend my disbelief and I was very interested to see what happens next. Its like one of those solve the mystery scenarios you play at camp. You know, "a guy is found dead in a locked room wearing only full-on scuba equipment, who killed him and how?" Similar situation in Flightplan. There are three possibilities: one, Mom is crazy and her daughter never was aboard the plane; two, she has multiple personalities; or three, someone has taken her daughter. I've already told you it's not number two, so if she's crazy, how come there's evidence to suggest her daughter was there? If it's bad guys, what is their motive and how could they have stolen a little girl on a plane at 3000 feet and anticipated that no one on board would remember her?

      In my head, I keep comparing this film to "Red-Eye," a film released a month ago. Both take place mostly on an airplane, and both involve a woman in distress. Difference: "Flightplan" is so much more intense; less believable, but more intense. Which is what I look for in a film. The intensity helps remove my disbelief; at least at the time. Besides that, in "Red-Eye," you know who the bad guy is, you know what's wrong and you're just waiting to see how it pans out. In "Flightplan," we know nothing of what is going on. We're forced to try and figure it out as it goes along.

      Some solid performances by Foster (of course) and Bean. I Like Peter Sarsgaard (playing the air marshall) a lot, but his character is boring in this film. All of his lines are chinsy and pointless, and he spends most of the film just following Foster around and saying "yes, captain."

      Another thing I really enjoyed, was the lighting on board the plane. Something I never care to notice in most films. Lots of neon blue, then some greens and yellows in other areas of the plane. Bright white corridors in a couple of places (ala Tantive IV in Star Wars: A New Hope) were a treat for the eyes. I just think that a more interesting environment was created than your normal daft, grey airplane.

      Alright, so we've established that I enjoyed myself. The drive home was a different story. I started to get angry at myself for liking it. It is so ridiculous and the holes are big enough to fly a plane through them. And at one point, political correctness goes right out the window with some suspicious Arabs on board the plane.

      I would re-visit "Flightplan" when it comes to cable TV. I'm interested in seeing things play out when I know the answer. I wouldn't say there is a twist ending. It's just something you have to figure out and may not see the explanation coming...or plausible. Still, I liked the visuals, the originality, the acting and the intensity. I'm glad I saw it, I just can't think about it too much or I'll end up being angry I saw it.




Links:
complete cast and crew listings and more at IMDb
Official site
airplane design & engineering from NASA












drewbacca@moviepatron.com