Director: Robert Schwentke
Starring: Jodie Foster, Peter Sarsgaard, Erika
Christensen and Sean Bean
RunTime: 1 hr 39 mins
Released By: BVI
Day: 20 October 2005
Award-winning producer Brian Grazer ("A Beautiful Mind,"
"Apollo 13") teams up with two-time Academy Awardâ-winning
actress Jodie Foster ("Silence of the Lambs," "The
Accused") in the taut psychological thriller, FLIGHTPLAN,
directed by Robert Schwentke and written by Peter Dowling
and Billy Ray. Flying at 40,000 feet in a cavernous, state-of-the-art
474 aircraft, Kyle Pratt (FOSTER) faces every mother's worst
nightmare when her six year-old daughter, Julia, vanishes
without a trace mid-flight from Berlin to New York. Already
emotionally devastated by the unexpected death of her husband,
Kyle desperately struggles to prove her sanity to the disbelieving
flight crew and passengers while facing the very real possibility
that she may be losing her mind. While neither Captain Rich
(SEAN BEAN), nor Air Marshal Gene Carson (PETER SARSGAARD)
want to doubt the bereaved widow, all evidence indicates that
her daughter was never on board resulting in paranoia and
doubt among the passengers and crew of the plane. Finding
herself desperately alone, Kyle can only rely on her own wits
to solve the mystery and save her daughter.
inevitable that one thinks of this movie as highly unoriginal.
First, one may compare this suspense drama to Wes Craven’s
Red Eye, which was released in cinemas here a month ago. Both
are in-flight psychological thrillers, and both boast of strong-headed
female protagonists. Second, with its plot and Jodie Foster
as its lead, one may conveniently deem it as a rehash of David
Fincher’s Panic Room (2002), except that the setting
has been changed to a plane. But if you put these factors
aside, you will still find yourself enjoying this decent thriller
at the edge of your seat.
reminds us how difficult it is to be a sane woman these days.
An aircraft engineer, whose husband died recently, is escorting
his body back home. Her only company on flight is her daughter.
All hell breaks loose when the young girl goes missing. She
finds herself at odds with an unremitting flight crew, where
she must challenge her own sanity and come face to face with
at 99 minutes, the movie wastes no time jumping into the action
and suspense. With its brisk and no-frills pacing, there is
never a dull moment in the movie. By the time the passengers
in the movie have taken their seats comfortably, you would
also have settled down in your own cinema seat. From that
moment on, the movie takes flight.
gets to run a lot, exhibiting her character’s frustration,
fear and desperation. The intensity in her role is definitely
one thing to look out for. Amidst all the excitement, there
are also tender and quiet moments where she gets to exercise
her acting chops as a heartfelt mother. No wonder this talented
actress is a two-time Oscar winner.
of the supporting cast delivers strong acting as well. Peter
Sarsgaard is definitely one underrated actor in our time.
The weariness and soulfulness in his eyes are enough to tell
so much without having him to say anything. After his powerful
performances in Shattered Glass (2003) and Kinsey (2004),
Sarsgaard’s role as an air marshal in this movie makes
him one actor to look out for. Rounding up the cast is Sean
Bean (Boromir in The Lord of the Rings trilogy) as the plane
captain and Erika Christensen (the obsessive girl in Swim
fan) as a fight attendant.
commendable aspect of the movie is its production design.
The sets are so well built that you can feel the claustrophobic
anxiety of the plane pressing down on you. There are also
a few innovative shots which creatively use mirrors, reflections
and transitions to very good effect.
is also impressive as it effectively brings out the coldness
on the plane with its use of cool colours. Throughout the
movie, you can also hear suspicious murmurs and unkind whispers
from the passengers, which will have you thinking that you
are actually on board the plane experiencing this awkwardly
new to Hollywood, German-born director Robert Schwentke shows
what he has got by attempting to create the post 9/11 atmosphere
on a plane, with undercover air marshals to white-collared
Americans casting caution on Middle Eastern passengers. Although
these notions are never fully developed, they are commendable
efforts made by the director.
a dependable fine cast and high production values, some load
is taken off the credibility and believability of the movie’s
plot. Since there is an excellent buildup in the first two-thirds
of the movie, most audience will be expecting a reasonable
payoff to justify that escalation of tension. But when the
plot twist kicks in, the stake has been raised so high that
the outcome may not be enough satisfy many viewers.
it is Hollywood we are talking about here after all, isn’t
the most crucial objective to entertain? This movie has done
sleek and tight thriller boasting fine and intense performances
from its cast)
by John Li