Not yet rated
Time Out says
Tue Nov 22 2005A little way into ‘Flightplan’s’ obvious (if unacknowledged) source, ‘The Lady Vanishes’ (1938), Michael Redgrave’s Gilbert cheerfully notes that ‘I’m about as popular as a dose of strychnine.’ He’s got nothing, however, on Jodie Foster’s Kyle, whose behaviour in hunting out the child she insists has disappeared in the middle of a transatlantic flight alienates not only flight crew and fellow passengers but, at least for a spell, the audience too.
The sort of in-flight high-jinks that made heroes of the leads in ‘Passenger 57’ or ‘Air Force One’ are distinctly problematic post-9/11 – but it’s characteristic of Foster’s uningratiating persona that she’ll hammer at the cockpit door or jab a finger at an Arab-American if she thinks it necessary. As in ‘Panic Room’, she’s a kind of renegade lioness, a lone mother driven to feral defence of her daughter against a male threat, lips pursed in self-reliance, grief and humiliation stored and burned for fuel behind alert blue eyes. Peter Sarsgaard, as an over-patient air marshal, wisely declines to compete, offering jaded, heavy-lidded Malkovichisms instead.
Director Robert Schwentke proves adept at handling both the suspense of the set-up and the tension of the cat-and-mouse denouement. But having managed, à la ‘Rosemary’s Baby’, to suggest that Kyle is probably delusional because the alternative is demonstrably absurd, ‘Flightplan’ offers a turnabout so preposterous as to render its earlier mining of post-9/11 anxieties downright exploitative; it even rounds things off with a pornographic explosion or two. A waste, in the end, of Foster’s cool fire.
Fri Nov 25 2005