Wednesday, February 08, 2006


My primary concern when we fired up Flightplan, Jodie Foster's new thriller, was that it would be a half-assed adaptation of Crichton's best novel, imvho, Airframe. (Go. Read. Enjoy.)

But, thankfully, it's just a nice thriller that uses Agatha Christie's "Strangers on a Train" closed-environment device, in that: "How can a child disappear from a flight while it's still in the air?" Indeed, how. Fire up that popcorn and find out.

Is there a more perfect movie star than Jodie Foster? I mean, you just can't look away when she's on the screen. Mesmerizing is the word. She could be telling me personally that my ass was on fire, and it'd take a moment for it to dawn on me that I needed to pull my attention away and douse my tush. (Perhaps that explains a bit about Ronnie's close call.)

Heck, she even almost sold Nell. ("Tay ina win!") Unless you had some ingénue spend half the film naked (don't get your hopes up for a remake, Michael), no one would've bothered to watch. I think that speaks for itself.

Many critics and pundits have dissed Flightplan because there's a supposed implausibility to the story, which even I - Mr. Can Suspend Disbelief Better Than Anyone - figured out as the credits rolled. Well, the more I've thought about it, the more I can see it's just a matter of accepting that it could happen, and it really could. We've all seen stranger things happen. (If you're curious, I'll spell it out in the first comment, so don't look if you don't wanna know.)

I thought it was great fun.


Yahmdallah said...

The implausible thing (on the surface) is that the kidnappers could lead the child away from her sleeping mother and NO ONE WOULD NOTICE and not remember that the child was there at all. Well, if you've ever been in a crowded place - even a contained one like a plane - it becomes pretty clear that a child could be lead away easily without notice - which of course is the bright shiny point on the iceberg of parental fears. That no one would remember is actually set up sneakily in the movie. Watch the beginning a second time: No one really does see the kid, except those who intend to take her.

jult52 said...

But Yahm, there's no way the conspirators could have anticipated that no one would notice the child. Young children often draw a lot of attention. Also, the coopting of the funeral home to solidify the conspirators' plot was not believable. And the actual wiring of $50mm by the airline was not believable. It's the sheer accummulation of barely credible plot twists that torpedos "Flight Plan".

I also found that the movie was not exciting -- obviously a major problem for a thriller. I'm not sure about why but the pacing wasn't particularly deft, key surprises were not used to elicit shock (e.g. the husband's death) and, finally, mundane parts of the plot were glossed over (e.g. Foster walking through the entire aircraft looking for her daughter), which I always think is a major failing in a thriller. The film consistently missed key opportunities to bring the story to life, to enhance the plot's credibility and to use surprises to move the story forward.

At least we agree that "Airframe" is the best Crichton book (of the half dozen that I've read).