Action / Adventure, All Reviews, Suspense


Jodie Foster is not having a great week. Her husband has fallen to his death in England, and she and her young daughter have to fly the casket back home to the United States to be buried. While on the plane, she dozes off and awakens three hours later to discover her daughter is nowhere to be found.

This much (and much more) is depicted in the trailer for “Flightplan.” Possibly, one might think too much of the film has been given away by the preview, but “Flightplan,” like a good Hitchcock suspense thriller, still has a few surprises left in store.

As Foster’s character begins to struggle with how in the world a passenger on an airplane can just disappear, she interacts with Sean Bean (the patient Pilot) and Peter Sarsgaard (the air marshal) and several stewardesses (or airline hostesses or whatever the hell the politically correct term is these days). When they realize that there is no record of her daughter ever having been on board they begin to think she’s crazy and, eventually, so do we.

Foster is, as always, brilliant. Frankly, the film isn’t all that stellar upon reflection, and she makes it that much classier (and much more believable) simply by her presence. It’s not that “Flightplan” isn’t entertaining; it is. It’s just that it’s one of those films where, although you’ll enjoy it as you watch it, you’ll be questioning its logic after.

In fact, I questioned its plot as well; then I realized it was suspiciously similar to one of the first videocassettes I ever owned, 1938’s “The Lady Vanishes.” Can you guess who directed? Yep…Hitchcock. It worked then, so it works now.

Pros: Strong cast. Great airplane design (considering 96% of the movie spends its time there, that’s more important than you might think). Entertaining first hour…
Cons: …but falls apart a bit at the two-thirds mark. There’s also at one surprisingly poor CGI effects sequence.
Review Rating: 3.5 out of 5 women who see their dead husbands may really be seeing them. Or not. But maybe they are. Then again…

“Flightplan” (2005)
98 Minutes; USA
Rated PG-13 for violence and some intense plot material.

Jodie Foster (Kyle)
Peter Sarsgaard (Carson)
Sean Bean (Captain Rich)
Kate Beahan (Stephanie)
Michael Irby (Obaid)
Assaf Cohen (Ahmed)
Directed by: Robert Schwentke
Written by: Peter A. Dowling and Billy Ray
Viewing Format: Theatrical Release.


About John Daily

John is a freelance writer, columnist and critic. His work has appeared in print, as well as on sites such as ScifiWatch and HorrorWatch (where he wrote under the complete meaningless moniker “Bloody Taco”). An archive of his film-related material is available at Currently, he can be found spouting his special brand of sarcastic nonsense at or Twitter (JohnNDaily).


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