ninth symphony films - movie reviews


DIRECTOR  -  robert schwentke

RATED  -  pg-13

GENRE  -  suspense

LENGTH  -  93 minutes

RELEASED  -  23 september 2005

DISTRIBUTOR  -  touchstone pictures

OFFICIAL SITE  -  flightplan

flightplan - a shot from the film


buy the cd from flightplan at

buy the cd from flightplan at

a recently bereaved woman's daughter goes missing on a large airplane while it's in flight at 35,000 feet.

jodie foster's role was originally written for sean penn.


picture from flightplan

picture from flightplan

picture from flightplan

picture from flightplan


three out of four possible stars

As a performer, Jodie Foster possesses a strength unequalled by a majority of actors, both male and female, currently working in film today. With the ability to project that intensity in both restrained and explosive characters, Foster can tackle any role and easily exist as the most interesting performer on screen. And though the film in its entirety displays more than one misstep, Foster is breathtaking despite a few defects in storyline.

It wouldn't be far off the mark to suggest that Flightplan wouldn't exist as such a taught thriller if someone with less energy was chosen for Foster's role. As with her recent performance in 2002's Panic Room, this is a film whose success is dependent on its lead actor. Possibly because of the nature of the story itself, which showcases Foster's character in nearly every frame of the film, it's almost a requirement of this type of storytelling that the lead actor possess a commanding presence on screen.

With the dark and claustrophobic set design and the fact that the story is told almost entirely from Kyle's point of view (that's Foster's character), a great deal of the film is focused closely on Foster's face. And because Foster is able to grab the audience at every turn, it requires no effort to follow the film to its conclusion. And though the film's plotline descends into predictability somewhere at the back of the second act, Foster manages to carry the audience with her to the conclusion.

Playing a widow who has the difficult task of transporting her recently deceased husband back to America from their European home, Foster has a suitably complicated base with which to display her character's fragile emotional state and fortunate are the actors performing opposite her. Consistently denied roles that would accurately test his dramatic mettle, Foster's co-star, Sean Bean, playing the role of the airplane's captain, finds himself in the middle of a performance that should please his fans for the strength the role affords him.

Though he is not the focus of the film, nor is he the lead character, Bean has at the very least a few juicy and dramatic scenes to play with. Likewise, co-star Peter Sarsgaard, playing one of the passengers on the plane, benefits from the taut construction of the plot. As the nature of the story itself requires that all of the characters perform with a constant and rigorous intensity, each actor has been suitably cast in his or her role and no one seems overwhelmed by the requirements of his or her character.

Further supporting performances from Kate Beahan and Erika Christensen (both playing stewardesses) further prove the casting director's intelligence in choosing the actors for this film. Although there are several passengers on the plane and other non-featured performers in the roles of other flight attendants, the leading cast of the film is quite small, which allows the focus to remain steadily on Foster's character.

An important part of a film whose aim is to instill a sense of claustrophobia in its audience is the set design and cinematography and in both areas, the filmmakers seem to have taken rather specific routes to create the "feel" of the film. The colors of the sets (most of which involve the plane itself, but there are some which take place in the airport and in a dark apartment) are overwhelmingly blue, with this color looking to represent the cold, unforgiving appearance of a commercial airliner. Creating a look that inspires no welcome, the set design performs well as a rigid backdrop for the desperate nature of Foster's character and her situation.

The one aspect which might disappoint viewers is the way the film's plot progresses over the latter half of the movie. Because the film is billed as a suspense movie, figuring out the direction of the plot before the filmmakers take you there is a difficult flaw to overlook. What viewers should hope for is the ability of star Jodie Foster to grab the audience's attention and keep the suspense alive despite those deficiencies in storytelling. No part of the script stands out as impressive, but neither does any part scream for a rewrite.

It's almost as if the filmmakers decided that Foster's involvement in the film meant that they didn't have to try as hard since her performance would guarantee a thrilling experience. With some tweaking in the area of plot or some ingenuity regarding dialogue, the film might have become a more well-rounded experience. It its current form, it is much more a treat for the fans of its lead stars. As a suspense thriller, Flightplan delivers about seventy-five percent of the time with most of its success due to the caliber of its acting talent.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

content 2000 - - ninth symphony films - photographs touchstone pictures 2005
home | archive | ratings | links | photographs | about | contact