De Plane, De Plane!

by Alan Rapp on September 23, 2005

in Movie Reviews 

Jodie Foster loses her mind (and maybe her daughter) on an overseas flight.  What happened to her daughter; has she been kidnapped or is this woman just freakin’ nuts?  Good questions are asked, but Hollywood finds a way to blow the great set-up with an UNBELIEVABLE plot twist that crashes this plane straight into the ocean.

Flightplan
2 & 1/2 Stars

Flightplan is one of those movies with way too many Hollywood fingerprints all over it. What can you say about a movie that sets up a wonderful tense thriller for an hour and fifteen minutes and then chucks it all out the window for a farfetched Hollywood twist ending?  Although I enjoyed much of the film, in the end I left the theater disappointed.

Jodie Foster, even bat-shit crazy, is still kinda’ hot

After the unexpected death of her husband, Kyle (Jodie Foster) and her daughter Julia (Marlene Lawston ) leave their home in Germany and board a plane for the United States. All seems fine except when Kyle awakes from a nap she finds her daughter missing. After consulting with the stewardesses (Erika Christensen and Kate Behan) and the Captain (Sean Bean) it is revealed that not only can Julia not be found, but there is some doubt whether she ever boarded the plane. Has her daughter been taken or has this woman gone completely over the edge demanding they search for a little girl that may not even exist?

Foster’s performance is worth seeing even if the film doesn’t live up to it.  However, I’d recommend waiting to rent the DVD rather than spending the money at the theater. It’s odd because Foster and Bean’s performances are perfect throughout, yet everyone else seems to be acting in a lesser film. Peter Sarsgaard in particular has some of the most inappropriate lines and strangest actions of all the characters on the plane.  He even smugly suggests, in front of other passengers, that Foster’s husband killed himself just to get away from her.  Yeesh!

As for logic, prepare to throw it out the window if you want to embrace this film. The twist and turn ending is so unbelievable and improbable that I was looking for James Patterson’s name in the writing credits.  I can stretch my level of disbelief only so far, and sadly this film asks for quite a bit more. I can buy recreating dinosaurs from mosquitoes and frog DNA, I can buy a guy putting on a rubber bat-suit and fighting crime, but this was a little too out there for me. The movie also fails as it sets up the fact that no one on the plane ever saw Julia. No one? On a plane packed with annoyed people checking out a brand new plane, no one passenger or flight crew even might have noticed her?

The film throws away the performances of Foster and Bean to make way for an inexcusably over-elaborate ending. While I applaud the film’s performances I must sneer at the writing and directing that allowed the movie to crash with over half-an-hour of story still to be told. If they had only let the story play out rather than abandon it for this contrived ending it might have been one of the best movies of the year; instead we get a great setup and little follow through. While that may make a great prostitute joke, I expected a little more from this film.

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