Posted online: Friday, October 21, 2005 at 0000 hours IST
How can a little girl simply disappear from an airplane at 37,000 feet? Which is the crux of ’Flightplan’? It is similar to classic locked room murders, wherein the killer could not possibly enter or leave, but someone is dead. But yes, ultimately the mystery is solved. Starring Jodie Foster Flightplan bears a similarity to the actor’s Panic Room.In both the films, a mother resorts to her inner courage and intelligence to defend her child from certain danger. The problem she faces in Flightplan is most baffling: Who are her enemies? Why would they want to kidnap her daughter? How is it possible to do so on an airplane?
Kyle Pratt (Jodie Foster), is a aeronautic engineer who has been employed in Germany on the design of the very airplane she is flying in with her daughter Julia (Marlene Lawston). In the hold is a coffin bearing her husband David’s remains. When Kyle wakes up from a nap, she finds Julia missing. Kyle looks around the airplane, calm at first, then on the edge of panic. The crew thinks her to be imbalanced because the passenger list doesn’t have Julia’s name, according to the departure gate at Munich Julia did not get on the plane, she died with her father. The captain (Sean Bean), tries to help out, but even he suspects that Kyle is hallucinating. The in flight air marshal (Peter Sarsgaard) assists the captain in keeping order and supporting Kyle. Obviously, the traumatized mother is fantasizing. Or has Julia been kidnapped? Flightplan is marked by a fine screenplay and on par direction by Robert Schwentke. Though limited in space, since much of the action takes place in a plane mid-flight, the director hasn’t allowed himself to be constrained by it, in fact he uses every inch of the aircraft, and the plot depends on the mother’s knowledge of its operation and construction. This is a plausible touch.
Jodie Foster turns in yet another outstanding performance. She is an actress who complements a thriller film, especially with a child and closed spaces, for she has the best modulated voice and face in current day cinema. It would be tough for a director to make a thriller without Jodie Foster playing the mother. Sean Bean and Peter Saesgaard put in capable supporting performances. At sometime they have the audience too doubting if Julia ever existed. Overall ’Flightplan’ is fine mid-air thriller.