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Flightplan (Widescreen Edition) (2005)

A movie directed by Karen Inwood Somers and Robert Schwentke

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The Subtleties of Building Atmosphere

  • Jan 27, 2006
Rating:
+3
FLIGHTPLAN as directed by Robert Schwentke from a screenplay by writers Peter A. Dowling and Billy Ray is excellent on creating tension from the first frames of the film well into the uni-set stage of an impossibly huge airplane. Little things like scenes of isolation, snow, ice, coffins - all set the viewer up for a thriller. Atmosphere 5, story 3.

The plot is so well known from other reviews that it merits no re-hash here. But the 'driven mother' against the free-floating anxiety of air travel and espionage in the post-911 is what keeps this film airborne. If the viewer can appreciate the possibilities of how even a scientific mind like that of aeronautics engineer Kyle (Jodie Foster) can splinter in the days following the death of her husband coupled with the added emotional burden of helping her child understand death, coffins, terror etc then the story will be gripping. The performances are fine - especially Foster in yet another superfemale role, but also Peter Sarsgaard, Sean Bean, and the supporting cast and crew of the beleaguered icy airplane.

At some point, however, the atmosphere must support a solid, intelligent story, one that is without holes in credibility, if it is to rate high on the Terror/Thriller/Suspense factor. The cinematography and musical score both support the director's vision. FLIGHTPLAN tries very hard but ends up feeling like a sellout somewhere along the line. Grady Harp, January 06

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More Flightplan (2005) reviews
review by . August 13, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Special effects were decent; performances were stellar.     Cons: Plot.     The Bottom Line: Flightplan started out promising, but quickly spirals down into been-there-done-that mess of a movie that bored this author, Erika Christensen notwithstanding.     Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot. Jodie Foster’s movies have taken on a decidedly mad maternal feel of late. First there was Panic Room …
review by . July 22, 2006
It's an interesting premise, and oddly similar to Foster's previous film, `Panic Room,' in which her maternal character is forced into a confined space with no outlet. In keeping with most of Foster's performances, she plays a strong-willed, intelligent woman who overcomes difficult circumstances. As expected, Foster delivers, and pulls the audience into the story. I was disappointed, however. Foster has more to offer than `Flight plan' is capable of giving her. `FlightPlan', while entertaining, …
review by . November 27, 2005
Pros: Jodie Foster and the other main characters. Suspense. Suspense. Suspense. Keeps you guessing.     Cons: Story isn't realistic, once you think about it.      The Bottom Line: Forget the fact that "this could never REALLY happen", and just go and have a blast.      Today was the day that I went, with my senior citizen father, and my sons, ages 11 and 14 years, to see Flight Plan, the suspense filled drama starring Jodie Foster. My eager …
About the reviewer
Grady Harp ()
Ranked #97
Grady Harp is a champion of Representational Art in the roles of curator, lecturer, panelist, writer of art essays, poetry, critical reviews of literature, art and music, and as a gallerist. He has presented … more
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Like a lot of stylishly persuasive thrillers,Flightplanis more fun to watch than it is to think about. There's much to admire in this hermetically sealed mystery, in which a propulsion engineer and grieving widow (Jodie Foster) takes her 6-year-old daughter (and a coffin containing her husband's body) on a transatlantic flight aboard a brand-new jumbo jet she helped design, and faces a mother's worst nightmare when her daughter (Marlene Lawston) goes missing. But how can that be? Is she delusional? Are the flight crew, the captain (Sean Bean) and a seemingly sympathetic sky marshal (Peter Sarsgaard) playing out some kind of conspiratorial abduction? In making his first English-language feature, German director Robert Schwentke milks the mother's dilemma for all it's worth, and Foster's intense yet subtly nuanced performance (which builds on a fair amount of post-9/11 paranoia) encompasses all the shifting emotions required to grab and hold your attention. Alas, this upgraded riff on Hitchcock'sThe Lady Vanishes(not to mention Otto Preminger'sBunny Lake is Missing) is ultimately too preposterous to hold itself together.Flightplangives us a dazzling tour of the jumbo jet's high-tech innards, and its suspense is intelligently maintained all the way through to a cathartic conclusion, but the plot-heavy mechanics break down under scrutiny. Your best bet is to fasten your seatbelt and enjoy the thrills on a purely emotional level -- a strategy ...
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Details

Screen Writer: Billy Ray, Peter A. Dowling
DVD Release Date: January 24, 2006
Runtime: 98 minutes
Studio: Buena Vista Home Entertainment / Touchstone
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