Flightplan

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Jodie Foster is accused of insanity in Flightplan

Sep 27, 2005
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:It keeps your attention.

Cons:Red herrings.

The Bottom Line: In case you've forgotten, here's the plane and simple truth.


Six years of trying to get a female person outside of my family to go to the movies with me up here, and I finally did it this week. Okay, she's my Mom's age, so we're not talking about a date or anything like that, but I DID IT, okay? So take that, Trumania.

The latest from Jodie Foster is, as the commercials say, a "first-rate thriller". No doubt, your attention will be had pretty much 90% of the time. Once inside the plane, it all feels like you're right in there, and on a bit of a grander scale than Red-Eye, seeing as how we're talking about a two-story plane here. Passengers talk and you can hear just about everything they say. Just having those little reactions in the background, some for and some against, really captures the moment.

The story is, as many have pointed out, akin to Panic Room in that it poses danger in a claustrophobic atmosphere. But aside from that and the presence of Jodie, there isn't all that much of a similarity. Here, you don't know who the villain is until very late, and you don't know the condition of the kid(s) until fairly late. In Panic Room, the question was "Will she escape?" but in Flightplan, the question is "Is there anything to escape?"

Kyle Pratt (Jodie Foster) is on a flight to NYC with her daughter, Julia. In the cargo hold lies a coffin containing the body of her recently deceased husband. Night has fallen, and it's beddy bye time.

Three hours later, Kyle wakes up to discover her daughter isn't there. She checks around, but nobody, not even a passenger, recalls even so much as seeing her little girl. The airline staff prove to be even less of a help when they reveal that there is no record of Julia ever having boarded the plane.

Kyle's best shot is with Carson (Peter Sarsgaard), a certain kind of airline safety enforcement police dude. I don't know, never heard of those guys myself but here he is. Sarsgaard's typically sleepy-eyed performance (see also Garden State) comes across as simultaneously heroic and petrifying.

Foster's performance is everything you would expect from a megastar who is renowned for such intense numbers as The Accused and Contact. Now, she's going all the way to the eighth circle of insanity, to the point I actually forgot about an integral clue that was shown in the trailer. It ain't like me to do that.

Flightplan falters a little in that the whole "insanity" angle is not much more than a stalling device. Plus, it results in one scene that flat out bores you to tears and feels somewhat out of place. In the same way that a 15-minute break feels out of place in a workday, if you catch my meaning.

There is also very little humor to be found here, although I guess one could argue that humor has no place in a movie such as this. It would have merely reminded you that you were watching a movie, which would have defiled Flightplan of one of its greater strengths.

Elsewhere, there are too many red herrings. The first ten minutes on the plane leave you suspecting almost every one of the characters Foster interacts with. Even if it's just the lifting of an eyebrow, my first thought is usually going to be along the lines of "Okay, I wasn't supposed to see that until the 2nd viewing."

The most annoying red herring is that of the two Arab passengers, who just so happened to be pulling a Rear Window on Kyle and her daughter at the beginning of the movie. Well, it turns out that that doesn't mean a thing, nor does the fact that one of them throws Kyle to the ground, leaving her with a big gash on her cheek. Nah, the only reason these two are even in the movie is to make the audience feel like racists when we find out we were wrong. Otherwise, though, you have every reason in the world to suspect them up until then.

When you do finally find out "who did it", on one side you're saying "Naw, that would've been too obvious!" and on another side, "Man, how was I supposed to notice that?" You'll see. Then again, maybe you won't.

Nonetheless, Flightplan proves itself to be a riveting ride, and Foster's big "Somehow, I told you so doesn't quite say it" payoff at the end is well worth it. So are the first words spoken after a long silence. I gather that the moral of the story here is that we should try to be more acutely aware of what's going on around us, just incase. 'Cause you really never know when something's going to happen.

I once said Flightplan was going to "kick Red-Eye's booty". In reality, it looks like we'll just have to wait for the DVD Extras to act as a tiebreaker.


Recommend this product? Yes

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