Flightplan

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Come in number 474, your time is up...

Sep 25, 2006 (Updated Sep 25, 2006)
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  • User Rating: Very Good

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Pros:Decent script for the most part, good cast, well filmed...

Cons:... typical thriller material, daft plot twist

The Bottom Line: If you like this sort of film then you may well enjoy Flightplan, but it didn't do much for me. Still, better than I thought it would be.


Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie's plot.

In Flightplan, Jodie Foster plays Kyle Pratt, an aircraft propulsion system designer who has recently lost her husband. She boards a plane to take his ashes back from Germany, accompanied by her 6 year-old daughter. However all does not go smoothly as she falls asleep early in the flight and awakes to find her daughter missing (sounds like kind of an oxymoron, but you know what I mean). After searching the passenger deck with no success she begins making a nuisance of herself to the cabin crew. The only thing is… no-one seems to actually remember seeing her daughter come on the plane. It’s not possible to say too much else without giving away major plot elements, but one way or another there does seem to be a possibility that her imagination is playing rather major tricks on her.


Trying to keep her under control is the Air Marshall, Carson (Peter Sarsgaard) – most of the time, trying to keep her under control pretty unsuccessfully. As a designer she has a good knowledge of the whole plane’s structure (not really convinced that someone who specialises in propulsion systems would have as good a knowledge of all the other workings of the plane as she’s supposed to have, but there you go), and uses this to her advantage. Carson tries to stop her becoming a danger to the other passengers, but is he becoming swayed by her unshakable belief in her daughter being there – and in danger?

The cast is undeniably classy with Foster and Sarsgaard as the main characters, Sean Bean playing the troubled captain, and Greta Saatchi making a short appearance as a therapist. Erika Christensen plays a new stewardess (“it’s true honey, it’s okay to hate the passengers”) whose character seems entirely superfluous to the plot, and Kate Beahan plays one of the other stewardesses, whose role in the film becomes apparent near the end. The musical score is okay and the cinematography is nicely done. The special effects are well done. Nearly the whole film is set on the plane, a double-decker, and the environment is realistically presented (insofar as it’s a fictional plane – an “Aalto E-474”).

Some of the scenes did work up a bit of tension so it’s not a complete disaster as far as being a suspense movie is concerned. However, at the end of the day this is a fairly typical “woman in peril, no-one believes me but I know I’m right” psychological thriller. The script is decent enough and contains a few laughs to break the tension, and has a bit of social awareness (i.e. everyone being suspicious of Arabs on the flight). There is also quite a clever plot twist; unfortunately, there is also a really stupid one, which coupled with a few somewhat illogical moments make it difficult to suspend your belief long enough to really start enjoying the film. For me it started out at a slight disadvantage people I have a general apathy towards this sort of film unless they are really good, and I’m afraid that Flightplan is only moderately good. If the ending had been better I think I might have given it a recommended, but as it is I’d have to say that, while better than I was expecting, Flightplan is really only a so-so thriller with a few good moments, but overall not worth watching unless you really like the genre.

(Incidentally, if you think Kyle is a silly name for a woman, the role was originally penned for Sean Penn, but the name stuck after the casting – and gender of the character! – had changed.)

Other Information

Rating: Rated PG-13 for violence and some intense plot material (UK rating 12A)
Runtime: 98 minutes


Links

Jodie Foster - Contact

Top Ten Movies of 2005


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