If I asked you what’s the best movie taking place aboard an airplane what would be your answer? Are you a fan of nineties action classics like Executive Decision, Air Force One, or Con Air? Or are you like more modern movies like Sully, Flight, or Non-Stop? I think you already know my answer although it’s kind of a no-brainer since Airplane! is one of my favorite movies. Flightplan is actually a psychological thriller using the confined space of a giant airliner to generate suspense and paranoia. It’s one of those movies where you’re not sure what’s going on until the final third. But I’m sure you’re going to have your theories. After a bumpy opening, once we board the plane, things start to get better and better.
I watched this movie a couple of times over the years and I always seem to forget just how messy the first and final third are. However, that middle part, which is also the biggest part of the movie, is delightfully scrumptious. We will be following Kyle, a widow traveling with her daughter to the United States from Germany. Still reeling from the loss of her husband, Kyle will find herself in a perilous situation just a couple of minutes into her all-night flight. Once things kick off, they fucking kick-off. The script was excellent and the cast did a terrific job delivering it. Jodie Foster, just a couple of years after Panic Room, finds herself again in a difficult situation.
Speaking of that movie, Flightplan also features some nifty camerawork, showing us the true size of these metal beasts. Among other cast members, we also have Peter Sarsgaard and Sean Bean who doesn’t die in this movie. I want to circle back to Jodie whose committed and believable performance made this movie work. She was all in and played the whole movie straight, just like it should be played. For example, the most recent thriller we talked about, Plane starring Gerrard Butler features him going for a more cheeky performance. A trademark Gerrard Butler performance, if you will. Still, if she believes, I believe and I think the same will go for the rest of the people who see this great movie.
It’s been a difficult couple of days for Kyle Pratt and her daughter Julia. After her husband’s sudden death in Berlin, the two of them had to fly there in order to bring his body back to the States for the funeral. After boarding the overnight flight in Berlin, overwhelmed by everything that’s happened, Kyle falls asleep. When she woke up, her daughter was not in her seat. And then things started to get complicated…
As the story unfolds and you start learning more about what’s going on, the whole thing becomes terribly contrived. Actually, the story becomes preposterous and quite unbelievable. However, by that time, you’re already invested and you want to see it through. So, in the end, Flightplan turned out to be a forgettable and yet engaging thriller definitely worth watching. Especially if you’re a fan of movies taking place on a plane. And as it so happens to be, 2005 was the year when another solid airplane movie hit the theaters. I’m talking about Wes Craven’s Red Eye, a simplistic and effective thriller starring Rachel McAdams and Cillian Murphy.
Director: Robert Schwentke
Writers: Peter A. Dowling, Billy Ray
Cast: Jodie Foster, Peter Sarsgaard, Sean Bean, Kate Beahan, Marlene Lawston, Michael Irby
Fun Facts: Both Sean Bean and Peter Sarsgaard are incredibly afraid of flying and try to avoid it as much as they can.