Cast: Jodie Foster, Peter Saarsgaard, Sean Bean
Director: Robert Schwentke
Certificate: Cert 12A, rt 97 mins,

Written by Peter Dowling and Billy Ray, devotees of aircraft thrillers like the recently released Red Eye are sure to flock to see Jodie Foster losing it in the skies in Robert Schwentke’s suspenseful debut Flightplan about a mother supposedly losing a child on a plane.

The premise really seems to be that simple. Mother Kyle Pratt (Jodie Foster) arrives to take a flight with her daughter. The plane takes off, mother goes to sleep, and when she awakes her daughter is gone. Cue frantic search, questions asked of other passengers, the emergence of pilot Capt Rich (Bean), Air Marshal Gene Carson (Saarsgaard) and the possible explanation that perhaps the child hasn’t really disappeared, but was not even on the flight. Perhaps the mother is not all there and has dreamt her daughter came with her. Or perhaps she really did take the flight but then if she did, where is she? After all there are only so many places on a flight that a person who has vanished could surely be.

This is one of those intriguing dilemma films. Put yourself in this mother’s shoes. If you had a child or you lost someone on a plane, what would you do ? And how could you explain if you were told there was no boarding card was submitted for this person as you all got on the plane?

Flightplan will certainly please most who go to see it and for the most part it keeps up its sense of suspense. Towards the end, it doesn’t quite live up to its early promise – there are particular moments when it follows a line of suspense that relies on a character behaving in a way where up to this point you would expect a different decision would be made, but this is Hollywood non-risk studio territory we’re talking about so it doesn’t go down to the wire in a way that a film like Red Eye did. Jodie Foster of course can act paranoia in her sleep and most will be happy with a film that plays on our worst fears even though the pay-off here doesn’t quite match the lead-up.

Matt Arnoldi

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