Flightplan
2/4
poster

Details & Information from IMDB

Genre Action
Year 2005
Duration 98 min
Rating 6.2 out of 10
Description: In Berlin, the aircraft propulsion engineer Kyle Pratt (Jodie Foster) is grieving the loss of her beloved husband, who felt from the roof of their building. She quits her job and decides to travel with her traumatized six years old daughter Julia (Marlene Lawston) to bury the body in Long Island. While in the flight to New York, Kyle falls asleep, and when she wakes up, her daughter is missing. She requests a search in the plane to the captain, but nobody has seen her daughter, whose name is not in the flight manifest, disbelieving Kyle. She tries to convince the air marshal Carson (Peter Sarsgaard) that she is not delusional.
Comments: Just when we thought we had enough suspense this year with the airline thriller Red Eye, along comes another that brings some heavy competition. Hitchcock fans will be delighted to know that German director Robert Schwentke has made a movie with a story just about as good as some of Hitchcock's - one that keeps them on the edge of their seats, and seems to keep the guessing game going until the end.

Jodie Foster (Panic Room) plays Kyle Pratt, an airplane designer whose husband apparently fell off their roof and died recently. She and her daughter, Julia (Marlene Lawston), are relocating from Germany to New York City, having to transport her deceased husband with them on board a massive double-decker airplane she designed. Kyle has been having a few delusions of her husband still being alive, but she always comes to her senses and realizes that he's not. But when she falls asleep during the flight and wakes up to find her daughter missing, she becomes alarmed and proceeds to look for Julia.

How many places could she be, right? That's the question everyone on board is asking. But when the Captain (Sean Bean) finds out that no one saw Kyle's daughter on board, that she's been through a lot of stress, and her daughter's boarding pass cannot be accounted for - he starts to think Kyle is mentally disturbed. As the flight goes on, he is informed that Julia apparently died along with Kyle's husband - pointing to what looks like a troubled marriage and a suicidal husband taking their daughter with him off the roof. Is Kyle imagining her daughter is still alive too? The entire crew and all the passengers seem to think so, particularly one man named Carson (Peter Sarsgaard, The Skeleton Key), who proceeds to ask all the hard questions that she doesn't want to hear.

Even though 99% of the movie takes place on board an airplane, the film never ceases to entertain. Foster gives us a riveting performance, making sure we can see the passionate look in her eyes that she is absolutely convinced her daughter is alive and that she's willing to go to great lengths to find her. She tackles an Arab man, breaks airline rules, enters restricted areas, etc. She drools, she claws...well not really. But she's definitely one mother you don't want to mess with.

This film does a good job at depicting the post 9/11 atmosphere one gets when riding an airplane, everything from undercover air marshals to passengers being wary of Arabs. It also reminds us of how annoying airplane flights can be, with hyperactive kids acting up right in front of you, or snobby passengers who say things like, "It's not like she lost her Palm Pilot." By the middle of the film, most of the passengers are just as patronizing, as they clap when Kyle is escorted back to her seat after causing a stir.

It has its share of unique cinematography, with obscure camera angles (like a sideways shot beneath an airplane landing), but other seemingly pointless slow-motion shots that don't add much to the scene. But most of that doesn't really take away from the story and the wonderful performances the actors give.

The movie does raise a few unanswered questions (ones I can't ask here without spoiling the plot), but they're easily forgivable. Is the film really that good? Well, it depends on how one views it. If one is expecting an original story, he/she will likely come out disappointed. However, it remains enjoyable if one just sees it simply as a story that, while not original, is a story well-told.

Dan Geer MovieLegacy.com