R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E dir Robert Schwentke
scr Peter A Dowling, Billy Ray
with Jodie Foster, Peter Sarsgaard, Sean Bean, Erika Christensen, Kate Beahan, Greta Scacchi, Marlene Lawston, John Benjamin Hickey, Michael Irby, Assaf Cohen, Shane Edelman, Mary Gallagher
release US 23.Sep.05,
UK 25.Nov.05
05/Germany Touchstone 1h37

The cockpit! What is it? Foster, Bean and Sarsgaard

sarsgaard bean christensen

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Flightplan A terrifically edgy, moody tone completely draws us in and helps us overlook the endless stream of plot inconsistencies in this airborne thriller. And with Foster front and centre, it can't help but grip us from start to finish.

Kyle Pratt (Foster) is accompanying her recently deceased husband's body back to America from Berlin, where they lived. Still grieving, Kyle gently coaxes her 6-year-old daughter Julie (Lawston) onto the plane and assures her that America will be a good new home. Then after a nap, Kyle wakes up to find Julia missing. And both the pilot (Bean) and an air marshal (Sarsgaard) doubt she was ever on the plane to begin with. But like Julianne Moore in The Forgotten, Kyle isn't about to give up.

German director Schwentke (Tattoo) is extremely sure-handed, and Foster is his ace in the hole. She delivers a powerhouse performance in this relatively mindless thriller, balancing the emotion, suspense and mystery effortlessly, and taking us with her on this tortured journey. Schwentke puts us into her mind--we really suffer--avoiding mindless action cliches for something more realistic and personal, which lets the stupid storyline slips by unnoticed.

The supporting cast create strong characters as well, although there's never any doubt about what's really going on. Even the red herrings and obviously shifty figures don't distract us from the real dangers. And then there's the plane itself. Sure, this is a mythical model, a two-story E-474 loosely based on the mega-jumbo currently in production, but it's absolutely fascinating to see how many places there are on board to hide things!

It's entertaining just watching the characters scurry here and there, above and below the passenger decks through secret hatches. So it's unlikely this will ever be an in-flight movie. Where it falters will be in any post-film discussion--hours of fun as you find one gaping hole after another, none of which I can mention here of course. It's a profoundly stupid plot, once you think about it. The amazing feat is that, while the film has you in its grasp, you barely notice. Genius.

cert 12 themes, violence 21.Sep.05

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
send your review to Shadows... Flightplan Donna Carter, Wisconsin: "I got caught up in the story line, figuring out things as it sped along, was caught (sort of) by surprise by a plot twist, but then the whole premise became extremely unlikely and the entire story began to unravel. The more I put pieces together, the less likely it all was. It was well acted, exciting to watch, but it required a very large swallow of a highly unlikely, elaborate scenario." (25.Sep.05)
2005 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall