Ricardo Montalban has programmed Jodie Foster to kill the Queen.

Theatrical Release Date: 09/23/2005
Director: Robert Schwentke
Cast: Jodie Foster, Peter Sarsgaard, Sean Bean, Erika Christensen

What happens when you mix 2 parts Hitchcock, 1 part “Gothika”, 1 part “Ransom” and a dash of “Panic Room” thrown in for good reason? The obvious answer from the title above is “Flightplan”.

I had seen the trailers and due to my keen (almost super human) ability to predict the end result of a film before even seeing it, “Flightplan” was going to be little more than a momentary escape from reality at best from what I could gather.

Thankfully, the film did much more than show a mother freaking out about her daughter getting lost on a plane. That’s not to say the film is about much else, but it’s all in how you do things. And as one of the film’s main mystery elements is the truth of whether a daughter actually exists, I will leave that answer unsaid.

Jodie Foster plays Kyle, a woman who has recently lost her husband and is moving to America supposedly with a daughter (Julia, played by Marlene Lawston). As an accomplished actress, Foster can more than handle portraying believable grief and her character here reminds me mostly of her role in “Contact” as she is a brilliant aerospace engineer with the determination of a pit bull.

As Kyle begins to panic in her frantic search for Julia, the cabin crew (which includes Erika Christensen and Kate Beahan), the captain (Sean Bean) and fellow passenger Peter Sarsgaard all get tangled in the mess.

What follows is a tight, tension filled thriller all within the confines of a steel tube traveling high about the Atlantic. As I am not going to ruin any of the plot elements, that’s about all I can say.

As already mentioned, Foster does a nice job, as do the rest of the aforementioned cast. Sarsgaard and Bean especially lend some real weight to the movie, giving the audience more substance to chew on.

And director Robert Schwentke was able to keep the audience from feeling too confined in the tight spaces of a plane, with the action and set design making me wish dearly I could be on this plane the next time I fly halfway across the world.

I have only one real problem with the film and in order to keep from possibly ruining the film, the rest of the paragraph is hidden from plain view and can only be seen by highlighting it with your cursor to reveal the text: The problem is the ending, it’s so saccharine and diametrically opposed to the mood of the overall film that I found myself cringing. So what keeps this movie from being great is the last 5 minutes, relegating this to lesser film status.

Okay, back to the rest of you, I’m going to give “Flightplan” a 3 out of 5. This could have been far worse and I found myself enjoying it throughout, aside from the problem hidden above. As I was in Sydney, Australia at the time of watching this, I was able to enjoy a couple of vodka lemonades during the film. In the United States though, you will just have to make due and sneak in that 6 pack of Old Style. It is an international flight, so drinking is allowed if you are of age.

As a footnote, some trivia I dug up on IMDB was that Sean Bean and Peter Sarsgaard share a fear of flying and originally, the lead role was written for Sean Penn, not Jodie Foster. I think with Penn in the lead, I might have been right about this film after watching the trailers. Casting a woman in the lead adds the maternal emotional component that helps drive the film. C’est la vie!

Also, my spell check wanted to replace “Sarsgaard” with “armguard”. Poor Peter.