US Release Date: 09-23-2005
Directed by: Robert Schwentke
- Jodie Foster, as
- Peter Sarsgaard, as
- Sean Bean, as
- Captain Rich
- Kate Beahan, as
- Michael Irby, as
- Assaf Cohen, as
- Erika Christensen, as
- Matt Bomer as
Peter Sarsgaard, Jodie Foster and Sean Bean in Flightplan.
Jodie Foster returns with Panic Room In the Air, oops I mean Flightplan. Seriously though the similarities between this and her last movie are many. Single mom (this times she's just been widowed) with a young daughter going through a harrowing experience where she has to play hero. Her characters seem remarkably similar, both are strong, intelligent women dealing with problems in a brave yet sympathetic manner. Personally I would love to see her doing something unexpected like playing a villain or at least a bitch on wheels.
Foster is Kyle, a woman flying home to New York from Berlin with her six-year-old daughter and her husband's corpse in tow. She is an engineer who designed the brand new plane she is flying on. Once aboard the plane she falls asleep and awakens to find her daughter is missing. After searching for her she informs the crew and is told that no record of her daughters ever having been onboard exists. What's more, none of the other passengers admits to having ever seen her daughter.
This setup is ripe with possibilities. It is an intriguing Hitchcockian premise. It is psychologically twisted and Foster conveys the terror, frustration and anger of Kyle perfectly. It is easy to understand why this woman has two Oscars on her shelf.
It's just too bad the writers dropped the ball. The bad guy(s) is incredibly obvious from very early on and the action and plot get more convoluted and improbable as the movie goes along.
I guess if you suspend disbelief and just go with it the movie does have a decent finale. Jodie Foster seems to have picked up the mantle of female action hero from Sigourney Weaver. She has a few good moments at the end that should satisfy her fans.
Flightplan will inevitably be compared to Panic Room but unfortunately it is less entertaining and has fewer tension filled thrill moments.
Jodie Foster and Peter Sarsgaard in Flightplan.
It will require a Herculean suspension of disbelief for anyone to buy into the silly, inane and completely implausible plot of this movie. While it does start strong, once the plot of the villains is laid out in all its ineptness, the story completely falls apart.
As Patrick says, Foster does a good acting job, but the writers seem to have come up with a good idea that they didn't know what to do with. So long as Foster's sanity is in doubt and you're wondering whether or not her daughter is alive or just in her imagination the movie keeps you intrigued. Once you know whether or not she's crazy, it just runs out of gas.
Sean Bean and Peter Sarsgaard are the other two known actors in the movie and they're both wasted. Bean, as the plane's captain is as generic as they come and the normally so reliable Sarsgaard is clearly slumming it in this role.
Earlier this year Red Eye was another implausible movie involving a woman and an airplane. Compared to this movie that one was practically a documentary of accuracy.
Flightplan's ending is so bad that it is laughable. Like a long plane flight, you'll just be glad when it's over.
Jodie Foster in Flightplan.
The problem with Flightplan is not the ending or the bad guy. The problem is that it changes tone dramatically. The movie starts as a psychological thriller and then turns into Die Hard 2. If it stayed with one or the other theme it could have worked, but one part of the film discredits the other.
Foster is a great actress but she only plays one emotion the entire film, frustrated. Did anyone else notice that in the very first scene she looks like a blonde Michael Jackson? She has the same straight hairstyle he has favored lately and they have the same long narrow nose. As Patrick wished, in Fosters next film she did in fact play “a bitch on wheels” in The Inside Man, a much better film.
The implausible plot, which Scott described, hinges on the notion that not one passenger or crew member recalls seeing her daughter. The hijacker's entire scheme is based on that assumption. There is absolutely no way that they could control what other people saw and remembered, yet they are so confident with their plan that they go ahead with it. How do they know whom she may have mingled with while waiting to board, let alone be seen on the plane by? How can I take a movie seriously when it creates an unrealistic situation, but treats it like it is?
Photos © Copyright Buena Vista Pictures (2005)