Film Review: Flightplan off course

Jodie Foster’s latest film, Flightplan, has a merciless crash-and-burn theme surrounding it. The take-off is smooth and relaxing until the plane ends up combusting mid-air. The film starts out full of promise, gets lost in its own storyline and in the midst of confusion tries to land well before the tarmac was prepared for its arrival. Flightplan is full of talent and has an intriguing story but never fully delivers on its potential.

Directed by Robert Shwintke, Flightplan takes place on a flight between Berlin and New York where a recently widowed mother, Kyle Pratt (Foster) and her daughter, Julia, are taking back the body of her dead husband. After a three hour sleep, Kyle wakes to find Julia has disappeared. As she searches the plane like a lunatic, the captain tells Kyle that Julia was never aboard the plane in the first place. No one recalls seeing Julia, her name is not on the passenger log and there is no record of Julia boarding the plane.

The cast, which includes Sean Bean, Erika Christenson and Peter Sarsgaard, give Flightplan a chance to be an entertaining psychological thriller, and it is for the first half of the movie. After the halfway point though, the movie is handled completely differently, as if someone else were all of a sudden in charge. The movie’s direction switches from psychological thriller to action-packed a la ridiculously huge gun-totting Rambo. Certain scenes leave viewers wondering what purpose they serve in the overall narrative. Flightplan begins to branch out into many different themes, but never successfully completes any of its explorations. It touches on post-9/11 airline security, terrorism and technological advancement, but never offers satisfying conclusions. The film leaves many areas blurry and unanswered, further adding to its incomplete, lazy feel.

Jodie Foster is a talented actress and she does a decent job with the script she was given, however the lack of entertaining dialogue minimizes Foster’s talents. Her character isn’t fully developed, she just comes across as annoying as she continually endangers herself and others on the plane.

Despite the amount of talent and potential this movie has, it’s simply not a good film and should never have left the runway. A definite crash.

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