reviewed by Tom-Tom
There are many films suited to in-flight movies. Die Hard 2 and Executive Decision aren’t among them. How, then, does Flightplan rank among these films? Would it send passengers into a panic or provide adequate entertainment for the duration?
Beautifully shot by Florian Ballhaus and scored by the late James Horner, Flightplan is wonderful to behold. Like a Philip K. Dick novel, it makes you question your senses and the very existence of reality in a tightly suspenseful way heightened by the great Jodie Foster, who plays a mother who has very possibly lost her 6 year-old daughter on a flight from Berlin to New York. Where is her daughter? Was she even aboard in the first place? Foster’s eyes and face consider all these questions with a deep turmoil. She has reason to be scared. Her husband died in a fall from a building. Everything points to suicide. The reason for the plane journey is to lay him to rest in New York. First on board, Foster and her daughter gloomily observe the casket being loaded into the luggage compartment at which time she draws a heart on the window with her finger.
There is an Air Marshal (Peter Sarsagaard)aboard who reveals himself as panic ensues following perfunctory searches for her daughter turning up nothing. Paranoia sinks in and she accuses two men whom she remembers as peering at her Berlin apartment the evening before. Their Middle Eastern heritage alone make them suspicious for a mustachioed buzz-cut American who looks like a card carrying member of the Michigan Militia if not the NRA.
Sean Bean plays the reasonable yet professional captain of the aircraft. He indulges procedure for as long as procedurally possible. This isn’t a picture where all non-main characters simply cheer on the lead. He is in charge of the safety of 427 people “none of which are being attended to while we search for [her] daughter.”
This leads the film to its remarkable, jaw-dropping 2nd Act. Foster’s character, interestingly enough, designed this plane and quickly fabricates a rather frightening diversion to escape Marshal supervision and look for her girl on her own. At this point, we don’t know what’s going on precisely so it is with mixed feelings that we follow her hunt.
The conclusion to this mystery is satisfying and appropriate. There are no sneaky storytelling gimmicks, just the plain truth. It’s exhilarating and definitely worth multiple viewings.