Directed by Robert Schwentke, starring Jodie Foster, Peter Sarsgaard, Erika Christensen, Sean Bean, Kate Beahan and Marlene Lawston.
You wait years for one and then two arrive at once... With the Rachel McAdams and Cillian Murphy-starring 'Red Eye' having brought the aeroplane thriller back to our screens after a long absence, now Jodie Foster checks in with 'Flight Plan', an over-the-top whodunit that begins promisingly but then nosedives with often hilarious consequences.
Just widowed, aircraft engineer Kyle Pratt (Foster, note to writers: give character a cooler name) leaves Berlin with six-year-old daughter Julia (Lawston) to bring her husband's body back to the US. On medication and deeply worried about the mental state of Julia, Kyle settles in for what she hopes will be a sleep-heavy flight for the both of them in the quiet rear of the plane.
But waking up a few hours later, Kyle discovers that Julia is nowhere to be found and her panic starts to spiral. She demands a search of the plane; gets on the wrong side of both the captain (Bean), the on-board air marshal (Sarsgaard) and the crew; insults some Arab passengers and thinks that everyone in rows A-Z is a suspect. And with everyone saying that they never saw Julia, convincing herself that everything will be ok could be easier than persuading people her daughter was on the plane in the first place.
With its snow-filled Berlin start and muted early feel, 'Flight Plan' sets itself up as a step above standard popcorn fare, and for the first 45 minutes it's consistently intriguing. Not long after Foster's onscreen daughter disappears, however, director Schwentke loses the goodwill he's built up with plot holes that are wider than the cargo hold and such an over-the-top twist that even Scooby-Doo would wag an admonishing paw at the scriptwriters.
Foster's character and predicament recall the ones in her 2002 thriller 'Panic Room', but Schwentke isn't David Fincher and while 'Red Eye' was ludicrous too, it still managed to be a more plausible film than what's on offer here. A 'simple' hostage drama would've been far more effective - but far scarier for post 11 September audiences - than trying to keep building the suspense, only to have an ending that's so funny it should've been in 'Airplane!'. But, thankfully, international relations are now at an all time high because one of the Arab passengers helps Foster's character with her bag at the end.
After this, Foster should really treat herself and her audience to an upgrade.