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Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Friday (as usual) I went to the Essex Outlet Cinemas to see their latest release. This week it was Flightplan, starring Jodie Foster. I love Jodie Foster. I've been waiting three years (since her last movie, Panic Room) for Jodie to kick some more butt, and she does a great job of it in this movie.

Jodie plays Kyle, mother of an eight year old girl named Julia, played by newcomer Marlene Lawston. The two are taking a flight back to the US from Germany, where Jodie/Kyle was an engineer who designed this behemoth of a plane, the one in which they are currently flying. Jodie's husband has died, either in an accidental fall or by suicide, and his body is being stored in one of the lower compartments.

Naturally, Kyle is grieving and is on edge, wondering if her husband really could have killed himself and what is to become of her since she is suddenly alone and a single parent. In the midst of this, Julia is terribly traumatized by her father's sudden death and has become extremely withdrawn, which worries poor Jodie/Kyle even more.

I don't think it is a spoiler to reveal the key element of the plot as it is a part of the trailer. Julia disappears. That's right. Jodie wakes from a nap and her daughter has simply vanished from her seat on board. Panic ensues, and Jodie goes crazy as she searches both passenger levels to no avail. About this time Peter Sarsgaard joins the hunt as an Air Marshall, so their is some male eye candy for those who are not overcome by Jodie's beauty. Before long, the crew and Jodie herself are doubting whether there ever was a Julia on board. Is this a tale of about an abduction or about a woman having a mental breakdown? That is the key twist of the movie, and it keeps the suspense going right to the end.

Jodie is sensational. I don't think there is an actress around who can manipulate a tear the way she does. She can hold a tear on the edge of her eye and make it glisten in the light before she tips her head on cue and lets it gently roll down her cheek. I find myself wondering if she does this mechanically or it is something that simply happens as she is "in the moment." Either way it comes across as heartbreaking.

I won't give more of the plot away but it is much more complicated that just the search for a missing girl. None of what comes next is revealed in the trailer, so it comes as a surprise, which is a delightful addition to the obvious story. So few movies these days manage to not tell the entire tale in one minute during the previews, which is annoying (although a great money saving service for the movie goer in most cases).

Anyway, this is a great ride and the airplane set is quite impressive. The movie is directed by a German, Robert Schwentke, who was making his first big budget Hollywood movie. He did a great job, though the one thing lacking is a bit of "fun" with the other passengers on board. Other than a cursory line or two from those directly around Ms. Foster's seat, the only people on this jumbo jet that gets a word in is the Middle Eastern contingent (naturally thought to have kidnapped the child for no other reason than their ethnicity). The flight attendants do get a bit of attention, most showing their contempt for having to search for the kid and the Captain, Sean Bean, seems to be making a cameo and wondering why after The Lord of the Rings trilogy he isn't getting bigger and better parts.

I've heard this compared to Hitchcock. I don't think I'd go that far, but it is definitely on the right path.

It's absolutely worth seeing.

1 comment:

ChrisWoznitza said...

Hi I´m Chris. Greatings from Germany Bottrop !!