Returning her husband's body to the US after he died in an
accident, Kyle (Foster) and Julia (Lawston) board the plane to head home.
As they both try to cope with their grief, the mother and daughter try and
get some sleep during the long journey between Berlin and New York. When
Kyle awakes however she finds that Julia is missing and after she frantically
searches the cabin, the flight crew try to calm her down. Getting the Captain
(Bean) involved, the crew reveal that they don't even remember Julia coming
on board so it is up to Kyle to prove that her daughter even existed.
Enclosed, insular thrillers usually breed suspense and tension
but can 'Flightplan' fly or crash trying?
Jodie Foster doesn't make many films as of late but when she
does the movie community seems to take notice and her role in 'Flightplan'
is no different. As the recently widowed engine designer, who is returning
her husband's body to New York from Germany, she brings much more to the
film than the flimsy plot deserves. Always playing a strong female character,
Foster drives the film along, through its twists and turns to its very typically
Hollywood conclusion but her performance makes the movie much more than
it should have been.
A star of Foster's magnitude usually attracts a strong supporting
cast and 'Flightplan' is no different. Instead of big name actors however,
the filmmakers have gathered together some excellent character actors to
accompany her. A rising star that is known for his acting talent, Peter
Sarsgaard provides outstanding supporting support to Foster. Even when the
film falls into cliché, his performance elevates, combined with Foster's,
make the finale a lot more watchable than it should have been. Sean Bean
continues to make inroads into Hollywood with another fine supporting role
but this won't propel him to leading man status anytime soon. Kate Beahan
does a good job as stewardess Stephanie but Erika Christensen is completely
wasted as fellow trolley-dolly Fiona.
Even an accomplished lead and an impressive supporting cast
cannot make up for the many plot shortcomings. The main problem is that
lack of an explanation behind the motivation of the main plot device. As
the film twist and turns towards the final act, the story rightly throws
up many red herrings to keep you guessing but when the reveal happens in
the final act the film descends into typically Hollywood cliché. This complete
lack of imagination ruins all the good work that has gone before.
'Flightplan' isn't a bad thriller but you do expect something
more than something run of the mill with Jodie Foster involved. Entertaining
until the clichéd final act, this is still watchable, simply because of
the quality of Jodie Foster and Peter Sarsgaard's performances. It takes
off, has a bit of turbulence but then it is a shock free, predictable flight
until the safe landing.
PICTURE & SOUND
Presented in Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1 with Dolby Digital 5.1, the
movie is presented well.
The In-Flight Movie: The Making of Flightplan (38.33 mins)
Director Robert Schwentke, producer Brian Glazer, screenwriters Billy
Ray and Peter A. Dowling, executive producers Robert DiNozzi and Charles
J.D. Schlissel, editor Thom Noble, supervising sound editor Dave McMoyler,
visual effects supervisors Rob Hodgson and Gregory Leigey, visual effects
producer Hendric Nieman, composer James Horner and stars Jodie Foster,
Peter Sarsgaard, Sean Bean, Kate Beahan and Erika Christensen take you
behind the scenes of 'Flightplan'. Split into five sections entitled 'Security
Checkpoint: Story of a thriller', 'Captain's Greeting: Meet the director',
'Passenger Manifest: Casting the film', 'Connection Flights: Post Production'
and 'Emergency Landing: Visual Effects', the extended featurette covers
the evolution of the idea, the cast, the editing, sound design, score
and visual effects used in the film.
Cabin Pressure: Designing the Aalto E-474 (10.02 mins)
Director Robert Schwentke, production designer Alec Hammond, executive
producer Charles J.D. Schlissel and director of photography Florian Ballhaus
reveal how the sets for the plane were designed and built. Here we see
how the cockpit, galleries and lounge were designed and incorporating
the camera mounts and lighting, as well as the interior design of the
Previews of 'Casanova', 'Cinderella Man' and 'Goal!'
With featurettes that cover all the aspects of the films production,
the main thing missing from the DVD treatment of 'Flightplan' is a commentary
track. Fans should enjoy these however but they may have wanted a little
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