More Room for Panic Here

Flightplan is a lot like Panic Room, only that there is a lot more room to panic on a double decker aircraft. Like her previous hit, Panic Room, Jodie Foster again plays a mother who has to use her courage and intelligence to defend her daughter against men who hold all the cards.

The only difference here is that she does not know who her enemies are until the end of the movie. Foster is Kyle Pratt, a jet propulsion engineer who has been working in Germany to help design the very airplane she is now taking to cross the Atlantic. Kyle, who is travelling with her six year old daughter Julia ( Marlene Lawston ) is taking her husbands body back to the US for burial. Kyle and her daughter fall asleep soon after takeoff but when she wakes up a few hours later, Julia is nowhere to be found. At first, Kyle looks around the plane calmly for her little girl, her intimate knowledge of the aircraft helps but Julia is still missing. Then she starts to panic when in flight air marshall Gene Carson ( Peter Sarsgaad) and the crew suggest that Julia has not boarded the plane ! After all, Julia's name is not on the passengers list and her backpack and boarding pass are nowhere to be found. Is Kyle delusional after the death of her husband who fell off a building? Is she imagining that she had brought her daughter in board? Flightplan, directed by Robert Schwentke (from screenplay by Peter A. Dowling and Billy Ray), keeps us guessing for the most part of the movie.

The flight captain (played by Sean Bean) believes Kyle's story at first, but even he starts to dismiss her off as a madwoman when she gets hysterical. There are shades of Sept 11 when an Arab suspect is thrown into the fray but connoisseurs of movie thrillers are not going to be fooled by such an obvious red herring. Some people may find 'plot holes' and lapses in logic in the twist at the end of the movie, but if you are prepared to allow the scripters a bit of leeway, you too will enjoy this suspenseful thriller that recalls Alfred Hitchcoc's THE LADY VANISHES. Of course, the acting kudos go to FOster, Sarsgaad, and Bean for the way they lead us on in this nightmare flight.

Foster has aged a lit since the 2002 Panic Room but she is no less convincing as a desperate mother in search of her child. We cant help but root for her as she does everything in her power to find her. Sarsgaad is cool as the patient air marshall, while Bean is very effective as a man who knows what he is doing. Director Schewentke puts every inch of the aircraft to good use---to enhance its complexity and claustrophobic constraints.


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