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Bewildering Stories

Robert Schwentke, dir., Flightplan

film review by Christopher Stires

Director: Robert Schwentke
Writers: Peter Dowling and Billy Ray
Stars: Jodie Foster, Sean Bean,
    Peter Sarsgaard
Date: 2005

If someone took everything you live for...
how far would you go to get it back?

Kyle Pratt (Foster), an aircraft engineer, and her six-year-old daughter are flying from Berlin to New York on the maiden flight of a super airliner that Kyle helped design. In the cargo hold is a casket containing Foster’s dead husband. A few hours into the flight, the daughter disappears. No one, not the flight attendants or any of the other passengers, remembers seeing the little girl.

Sean Bean (Lord of the Rings trilogy, National Treasure) is the pilot Captain Rich and Peter Sarsgaard (Jarhead, The Skeleton Key) is Carson.

The first half of the movie is a nail-biter. Very Hitchcockian. (Poor Alfred gets the credit or blame for so many thrillers.) Foster is the anchor in this film. She could be on screen reading the White Pages and I’d watch her. In this role she is totally believable as a panicked mother searching for her child who may or may not actually exist. There are some nice red herrings and misdirections in the plot including a very believable sequence involving some Arab passengers.

Then we get to the second half. I’m not going to spoil it for anyone, but for me each plot revelation landed with a bigger and bigger thud. I will believe in short little aliens taking kids on magical bicycle flights and intellectually-enhanced sharks with personal vendettas against their human handlers, but I had a very difficult time with this one. Just didn’t work for me.

Trivia: Foster’s role was originally written for Sean Penn.

Copyright © 2006 by Christopher Stires

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