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Directed by Robert Schwentke.
Written by Peter A. Dowling and Billy Ray.
Starring Jodie Foster, Peter Sarsgaard, Kate Beahan and Sean Bean.

Release Year:  2005
Review Date:  9/28/05


So, here's the thing:  for about an hour, I thought that the new Jodie Foster flick "Flightplan" was good and getting better.

The film starts off well, skipping back and forth in time as we follow seasoned (former?) engine designer & engineer Kyle Pratt (Jodie Foster) and her six-year-old daughter Julia (Marlene Lawston) as they recount the death of Kyle's husband, then board a plane in Berlin destined for New York City, where they will bury their deceased loved one.  From what you can tell as you watch the initial proceedings, no one lays eyes on the daughter as Kyle takes her from the airport, through security, onto the plane and into her, when the girl disappears following Kyle's nap on the plane, you buy into the idea that the little girl may have been a figment of Kyle's imagination the whole time.

This is the set-up given to you by the trailer, so this is no big surprise.  But, you know a surprise is coming, so you brace yourself in hopes that German director Robert Schwentke has got a doozy up his sleeves...

...but, when it comes, you are immediately underwhelmed.  Why this is, well, becomes quite easy after you leave the theater.  Stop reading this review right NOW if you don't want to know what happens.




So, I'm sitting there in my seat, and you get the first clue that maybe the girl might be real after all (the filmmakers nearly pause for effect just to make sure you are still with them), and what happens after that becomes some of the most ridiculous horseshit that Foster has ever associated with in terms of silly filmmaking.  After sending 400 passengers into a state of hysteria following the plane's power outage, I thought for sure that was going to be it.  Done.  But, instead, we get an almost brand-new plot, featuring our air marshal (played badly by character actor Peter Sarsgaard) and the chief stewardess (Kate Beahan) and what must be the strangest reach I've seen in a while to create a terrorist plot--a bunch of C4 hidden in a dead guy's casket?  To make sure that it passes through security because they don't x-ray caskets?

Then it just got worse--I still can't figure out why the marshal picked this plane and picked this little girl to kidnap; there were a hundred other ways he could have smuggled explosives onto a plane.  Okay, let's pretend that the stewardess switched the flight manifests to show that the little girl was never on board; no one ever thought to call the terminal in Berlin to see if the little girl had been seen by anyone there?  How did somebody reach into Kyle's pocket to remove her daughter's boarding pass?  Somebody picked the little girl up and got her bag AND threw her into the plane's hold without anyone else seeing this?

Maybe the worst part about the ending--the fact that this load of C4 was just big enough to take out...the landing gear and one small room in the bottom of the plane?  The resulting explosion was so hilariously small that guys in my theater were audibly upset at what was going on.  Calls of "This is BULLSHIT!" could be heard in the back rows.  Or maybe the worst part of the ending was when the stewardess skipped town and tried to get away by...running off the main ramp and onto the runway and towards a field in the middle of Newfoundland!  Or maybe it was the point where a scorned Arab man (who was naturally suspected by the passengers as being the real hijacker on the plane) offered to pick up a bag for Kyle at the very VERY end so that she could acknowledge him with the "Hey, sorry for thinking that you were a bad."

Jeez.  I went from $9.50 Show to this in about a ten-minute span, which is too bad, because the movie does start off very well and was a taut thriller until we got the twist.  Maybe I should'a gotten up and left!

Rating:  Rental


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09