Flightplan

Film

Time Out says

As far as paranoid premises go, Flightplan's scenario is a doozy: A Berlin-based aeronautical engineer (Foster) is relocating to New York after the death of her husband. The widow boards a transatlantic flight with her daughter in tow...only to awake from a nap midway through the trip and discover her child is missing. Things get even stickier when the flight log reveals no record of the girl ever boarding, and no one can recall having ever seen the youngster. Is the kid's existence a product of the mother's posttraumatic mental meltdown? Or is the mysterious disappearance part of a nefarious scheme?

German filmmaker Robert Schwentke's last movie, the Seven rip-off Tattoo (2002), seemed designed to serve as a Hollywood calling card; the gambit apparently worked, as he's nabbed a studio assignment with the poster girl for maternal-concern thrillers. The director certainly has a facility for serving up superslick visuals and is fluent with the vocabulary of Hitchcockian suspense flicks, milking the claustrophobic set and post--September 11 phobias (oh my God, there are brown-skinned men with beards on the plane!) for all they're worth. Once the inevitable final descent into ridiculousness happens, however, neither Schwentke's technical panache nor Foster's first-rate brow-furrowing can save the movie from severe altitude sickness. Flightplan doesn't have enough momentum to keep itself aloft for long; what goes up must come down, and the film's landing is one resounding thud.—David Fear

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