Flight Plan Review

by Steve Rhodes (Steve DOT Rhodes AT InternetReviews DOT com)
September 21st, 2005

A film review by Steve Rhodes

Copyright 2005 Steve Rhodes

RATING (0 TO ****): ** 1/2

Even if it is an energetic mix of RUN LOLA RUN and RED EYE, FLIGHTPLAN is likely to leave viewers scratching their heads, thinking that the movie could and should have been so much better. The problem with the production has nothing to do with the acting of the lead. Jodie Foster, repeating her tough but vulnerable mom role from PANIC ROOM, a much better movie, does an amazing job again.

The frustrations with the film revolve around its basic premise. Foster's Kyle Pratt is a grieving widow who may be delusional, or so we are told, when she claims to have lost her daughter during a long flight over the Atlantic. The script, by Peter A. Dowling and Billy Ray, spends the entire first half of the story trying without any luck whatsoever to convince us that Pratt's daughter may have never been on the plane in the first place. Even if director Robert Schwentke (TATTOO) hadn't felt the need to have various key people provide knowing looks bordering on winks to each other, the script never puts any real doubt in our mind about the girl's existence. FLIGHTPLAN never attains liftoff since its basic premise is never made credible, even for a minute.

The only open question as the last act begins is the explanation that film will provide for what is going on. As much as we admire Foster's sterling acting, it can never quite make up for the lack of a credible story. When the inevitable big twist came, it wasn't the one guessed, but I wasn't impressed. Frankly I didn't care much, since there are only two believable characters, Pratt and an airline pilot played with convincing passion and toughness by Sean Bean. Particularly bad is Peter Sarsgaard, who was so sharp in SHATTERED GLASS, but who was last seen slumming it in THE SKELETON KEY. Here he appears sleepy most of the time.

The movie is much sleeker and more expensive looking than RED EYE. But the latter film was a lot more fun and believable too. It also didn't take itself quite so seriously. FLIGHTPLAN is worth seeing only for diehard Foster fans.

FLIGHTPLAN runs 1:35. It is rated PG-13 for "violence and some intense plot material" and would be acceptable for kids around 11 and up.

The film opens nationwide in the United States on Friday, September 23, 2005. In the Silicon Valley, it will be showing at the AMC theaters, the Century theaters and the Camera Cinemas.

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