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 seat...so, 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
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 terrorist...my bad."
Jeez. I went from $9.50 Show to this
in about a ten-minute span, which is too bad, because the movie does
start off very well and was a taut thriller until we got the twist.
Maybe I should'a gotten up and left!
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$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
"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 bad...man, 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
"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