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Not on this Flightplan!

Published September 24, 2005 in Movie Reviews
By Ryan Parsons | Images property of Touchstone Pictures
Flightplan Flightplan
Flightplan begins with a swift introduction to Kyle Pratt [Jodie Foster], a woman who is hinted to be a little off her rocker due to the sudden death of her husband. Supporting a daughter who is also not the coldest beer in the fridge, Pratt decides that the best move she can make for her remaining family is to immediately leave Berlin and go live with the parents for a while in New York. Thanks to a couple of sleeping pills mixed with anxiety medication, Kyle Pratt falls asleep and later wakes up mid-flight to find her daughter missing. Usually this would be no big deal, considering that the plane in which they are on, a 474, is giant and that her daughter, Julia, has been known to wander. However, after an initial search of the plane, Kyle begins to panic.

Flightplan Review

There are three elements that are simply sensational in Flightplan. The first of which is Jodie Foster herself. Playing the role of emotionally distraught mother, Foster is more than convincing as she slowly begins to lose her cool with each empty cupboard and closet opened with no result. Add in the fact that all the evidence points against her claim that she even brought a daughter on board the plane, and even we begin to wonder about the level of sanity that Kyle Pratt had when boarding the flight. Who do we trust, Kyle Pratt's motherly instincts or evidence such as the seating chart, morgue employee and lack of a boarding pass?

The second element is how clean this film is. The film looks as if it was almost waxed and polished after coming out of the camera. Featuring wonderful lighting and amazing clarity, Flightplan allows us to take close-up looks on many of the characters / passengers faces in stunning hi-resolution. What this means is that we can see the glare in Foster's tears [she cries a lot in this film] and the look of frustration from Sean Bean and other crewmembers on the plane. The film is so clean, that you wonder if this story is taking place in the future.

Flightplan Flightplan
The final element that most will not even consider when leaving the theatre is the psychological experiment of how people are willing to alter their memories and impressions when they are told a conflicting statement, or even questioned, by a person in a superior position. When Pratt first questions one of the flight attendants about her missing child, the flight attendant responds as if she remembers seeing the child come on the plane. However, after most, including the air marshal, claim that there probably was no child, this same flight attendant changes her story that she cannot remember either way; though Kyle and her daughter Julia walked right by this same person while boarding the plane. Could the alteration of memory cause people you count on to all side against you? In Pratt's case, the answer is a strong yes.

Flightplan also features a great tempo, at least, for the first two-thirds of the film. The build up of suspense during this period of the film is so well done that you try to imagine how you would respond if either you were in Kyle Pratt's position or that of a passenger. However, when the final third of the film kicks into gear the tempo begins to fluctuate all over the map with some scenes taking too long and others happening too quick. The film also gets a touch bit silly, with scenes that make you wish you could go back to the part of the film where you had no idea on what the hell was going on.

In the end, Flightplan could have only ended with two-outcomes and the one that was chosen by Robert Schwentke [director] was definitely the more real. The issue with this is that there will be many moviegoers entering the theatres to see something that dives even further into the human psyche or offers a dish similar to Sixth Sense. But Flightplan is not that type of film, even though it would like you to think it is.


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Compiled By (Sources)
Ryan Parsons
Sources: Images property of Touchstone Pictures

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