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"flightplan" Movie Review

Ridiculous Plot Twist Shoots Down "Flightplan"


Jodie Foster and Peter Sarsgaard in

Jodie Foster and Peter Sarsgaard in "Flightplan"

© Touchstone Pictures
What starts out as a decent thriller soon winds up plummeting to the ground, brought down by its own improbable plot twists and illogical storyline. Not even Jodie Foster can save “Flightplan” from crashing once the story abruptly changes direction.

“Flightplan” is so full of plot holes you could fly a 747 - or the movie’s 474 – through it. The basic premise involves a mother, Kyle Pratt (Foster), who hightails it out of Berlin after the death of her husband. Along with her young daughter, Kyle boards a plane she helped design to return home to America.

The plane isn’t just big, it’s enormous, so when Kyle’s daughter goes missing the flight attendants aren’t really concerned. There are any number of places she could be off visiting. But Kyle’s ‘mother radar’ is pinging and she knows there’s something wrong. When she can’t get her point across in a calm manner, she quickly resorts to yelling and causing a huge fuss. This brings the onboard air marshal (Peter Sarsgaard) into the picture as he and the pilot (Sean Bean) try to bring Kyle under control before she freaks out the 400 passengers. Nothing will calm her down and the situation quickly escalates into a major problem for everyone on board.

That’s where I have to leave the story as disclosing anything more would be considered a spoiler. Because I can’t say anything more without fear of revealing what makes “Flightplan” such a disaster, you’ll just have to take my word for it when I say what could have been a good film is destroyed beyond redemption by its third act. Two-thirds of the way through “Flightplan," the plot takes such an incredible turn that it effectively spoils the entire film.

Why a passenger in this day and age is allowed to act as “Flightplan’s” main character does makes no sense. And why the air marshal and the pilot don’t ask the obvious questions the audience is asking is beyond all logic. But what’s even more frustrating is that once the third act is unveiled and you look back on the rest of the film, there’s so much just plain wrong with the way the movie finishes up. It is impossible to connect the dots and get from the start of the film to the closing credits.

“Flightplan’s” main problem is that the screenwriters didn’t apply common sense to the actions of the characters. Why the primary characters do what they do when they do it makes little or no sense when the film is viewed as a whole.

While Jodie Foster turns in another decent performance, her character’s crazed search for her daughter is only fun to watch for 30 minutes before you want to her pass her some Valium to make her mellow out.

Peter Sarsgaard has the most difficult role in “Flightplan” but I can’t tell you why. I also can’t explain much about the other cast members because delving into their performances gets too far into explaining the plot. I can however say Sarsgaard and Sean Bean go above and beyond the call of duty in trying to keep the movie flowing.

“Flightplan” veers so far off its initial course that it’s almost as though director Robert Schwentke is presenting us with two very separate films packaged under one label. “Flightplan” takes off as scheduled but really should have been delayed until they could correct the last third of the film.


"Flightplan" was directed by Robert Schwentke and is rated PG-13 for violence and some intense plot material.

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