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  Flightplan In Plane Sight
Year: 2005
Director: Robert Schwentke
Stars: Jodie Foster, Peter Sarsgaard, Sean Bean, Kate Beahan, Michael Irby, Assaf Cohen, Erika Christensen, Shane Edelman, Greta Scacchi, Mary Gallagher, Haley Ramm, Forrest Landis, Jane Kolesarova, Brent Sexton, Marlene Lawston, Judith Scott
Genre: ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 2 votes)
Review: It hasn't been a good week for aircraft engineer Kyle Pratt (Jodie Foster) considering her husband died suddenly in a fall while in Germany. She has to view the body and then arrange for the casket to be taken home to New York for burial, and tonight she and her daughter Julia (Marlene Lawston) will be taking the overnight flight. Julia is traumatised by the events, and takes a lot of persuasion even to leave their apartment block, but eventually Kyle manages to get her to the airport only for the girl to disappear from sight. Luckily, she was just investigating the shops, but Kyle is shaken and glad to board the aeroplane. The two of them are the first passengers on, and settle down for the flight, but it's not going to go to plan as something will happen to make Kyle doubt her own sanity...

Flightplan was scripted by Peter A. Dowling and Billy Ray, and took as its template the old, old story familiar from the likes of The Lady Vanishes or So Long at the Fair of the disappearing character who no one will believe was ever there in the first place. As far as it goes in creating an Alfred Hitchcock thriller for the twenty-first century, the film does its job efficiently, and given that the action almost exclusively takes place on the aeroplane, works up a fair atmosphere of claustrophobia, especially as the aircraft is one of the gloomiest yet seen.

Kyle and Julia keep themselves to themselves, which is just as well as the other passengers are casually unfriendly, not really bothering about anyone else outside of their own small circles. So the air of cold paranoia is implemented even before Kyle and Julia retire to the seats at the back of plane to catch up with some sleep. And when Kyle wakes up, she is concerned to see that her daughter isn't there, and begins roaming around, just as director Robert Schwentke's camera restlessly refuses to settle, looking for the missing child.

However, there's a twist, yes, not only does no one know where Julia is, it seems no one noticed her on board in the first place. After asking the flight crew, Kyle gets the response that they didn't realise that she had anyone with her, and the stewards and stewardesses don't go along with her when she tells them they must have seen the girl. An aircraft security man, Carson (Peter Sarsgaard), soon ventures over to see if he can sort things out, but Kyle (Foster showing her customary grit and determination) is now demanding to see the captain (Sean Bean). Her request is granted, and he gives her the benefit of the doubt.

But only so far. A search of the plane is instigated and predictably there's no sign of the child, so now everyone, us the viewers included, start to question Kyle's sanity. As this is Jodie Foster we're watching, there's only so much questioning we can do before we wonder when her story will be proved correct, but not after various shenanigans with Julia apparently having died with her father and the now panicky Kyle using her specialist knowledge of the plane (handy, that) to indulge in a bit of sabotage to ensure that a more thorough search is carried out. As we finally find out what has really gone on, you can almost hear the plot begin to deflate, and it's a pity Kyle is one of those heroines who has to turn murderer to solve her problems, but Flightplan doesn't hang around longer than necessary and is tense enough for its unlikely revelations to be overlooked, at least while you're watching. Music by James Horner.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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