'Flightplan' crashes on landing

By Nate Buchik
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, September 29, 2005

RATING: 5 out of 10

With Jodie Foster and Peter Sarsgaard at the helm, "Flightplan" seemed like a sure bet to fly. But thanks to a boring script and an implausibility factor that makes it hard to suspend disbelief, it gets about as high as a paper airplane.

Foster plays Kyle Pratt, whose husband has just mysteriously died by falling off the roof. She and daughter Julia are taking an emotional flight from their home in Berlin to New York with his coffin.

Kyle is also an engineer and has helped build the massive double-decker plane that they are set to fly on.

If you've seen the trailer, you know what happens next. They board the plane, Foster loses Julia and all hell breaks loose. There is no record of Julia ever being on board, and somehow no one saw her. Although everyone else is convinced that she has lost her mind, Kyle demands exhaustive searches of the plane and accuses passengers of kidnapping her daughter.

Sarsgaard ("Garden State") is by her side most of the time as an air marshal and voice of reason. Also playing concerned roles are Capt. Rich (Sam Bean) and suspicious flight attendant Stephanie (Kate Beahan).

93 minutes
Imagine Entertainment

Unfortunately, with these types of thrillers, I can't give away much more of the plot without spoiling the surprises. And boy, are there ever surprises! Twists and turns and more twists, oh my.

While you're watching, it's pretty easy to tell if another big twist is coming, because there are several times the movie would have ended if there wasn't a big reversal on the way.

So suffice to say, it's not as simple as Kyle going crazy and thinking her daughter is still alive.

These kinds of movies are tough to judge. Do you rate the twist or the film as a whole? Rating the twist(s), I'd say this is a three. But the film might get a seven.

Most of the movie is entertaining and gripping, thanks in part to Foster's patented lip quiver. It's never really edge-of-your-seat thrilling, but at least I was still in the seat.

Then the twists start happening, and the final one is such a waste of time and energy that I sat pouting, arms crossed for the rest of the film.

From top to bottom, this was a pretty standard thriller, which also means that it wasn't a horrible thriller. While standard action movies or family comedies may be unbearable, standard thrillers are always very watchable one time, and Foster makes it almost worth paying full price to see.

But if you stick to a matinee, keep your hopes low and leave your questioning brain at the door. You might be satisfied with how you wasted two hours.