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Flightplan (2005)

  Directed by: Robert Schwentke
Written by: Peter A. Dowling, Billy Ray
Starring: Sean Bean, Jodie Foster, Peter Sarsgaard
Links: Flightplan on the IMDb, Official site, Buy on DVD
Genre: Suspense/Horror/Thriller

This movie gets: 6.00 (1 rating) Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

"Don't bother fastening your seatbelts." - a review by andy-j

In Flightplan, Jodie Foster plays Kyle, a recently-widowed mother who is accompanying the body of her late husband on a flight from Berlin to America, along with her young daughter. Heavy with exhaustion and still grieving, she falls asleep on the flight, but when she wakes up, her daughter Julia is missing. She searches everywhere on the plane, and, coming up with nothing, alerts the crew, who scour the plane from top to bottom. But there is no sign of her daughter, and no-one on the flight even remembers seeing her. Then comes the revelation that there is no record of Julia ever having boarded the flight. In fact, according to checks made with the morgue, Julia died at the same time as her father. What's the deal, Kyle? Have you just imagined your daughter is still alive because you cannot accept her death, or has little Julia been kidnapped?

Having just read the above plot-summary, you may be thinking that Flightplan is very much Alfred Hitchcock-inspired. And this is true - the setup is very much the style of film that Hitchcock was famous for. Unfortunately, Flightplan doesn't do a good job in fooling the audience that Kyle is suffering from delusions. Therefore, we don't ever really buy into the whole hook of the movie. After it is suggested to Kyle that she may be imagining her daughter is still alive, Kyle very quickly dismisses the idea, and so do the audience. We needed the opportunity to entertain the notion more fully, turn it over and around, and consider the consequences. We needed to see Kyle doubt her sanity, and partially accept what she was being told. None of this happens to any significant degree. Flightplan has a really good idea, but then drops the ball when it comes to actually executing it.

At this point, Flightplan turns from a potentially engrossing thriller into a generic action movie. It soon becomes a game of hide-and-seek, and, as an action movie, it is predictable and unremarkable. There are numerous plot holes and it starts to become unrealistic, hard to swallow, and ridiculous. God knows why it didn't just stick with the original idea and flesh it out. Jodie Foster isn't really being challenged here at all, but she still does as good a job as she could with the character. And it would have been a 'fun' film to make.

Flightplan isn't a terrible film by any means. It's engaging enough, but it's just a bit of a bummer that it tries to tackle two genres at once, and doesn't really deliver on either.

andy-j gives this movie 6 out of 10.
Review created on Fri 30 Dec 2005

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