Kyle Pratt is a widow, disturbed and aloof.
Poor David, her husband, just fell off a roof.
Just leaving her job as an airplane designer,
She’s bringing his body home on an airliner,
Along with young Julia, her six-year-old daughter.
When Julia strolls off, Kyle’s able to spot her,
But now she’s on edge from the worry and strain.
Both Julia and Kyle are the first on the plane.
Miss Pratt falls asleep with her daughter nearby,
But when she wakes up, flying high in the sky,
Her Julia is gone so she searches around,
But, alas, her young girl is nowhere to be found!
She starts getting frantic, as would any mom,
So Gene Carson, air marshal, makes her keep calm.
There’s no sign that Julia was ever on board,
Nobody remembers her; Miss Pratt is floored.
They say Julia died with her father as well,
That he took her with him when he somehow “fell.”
Kyle’s panicked conduct and the loss that she’s had
Make the crew and the passengers think she’s gone mad.
Miss Pratt starts to doubt her own sanity too,
But evidence shows her story is true.
She takes drastic action to search the ship’s hold,
But she’s caught, and it’s clear she cannot be controlled.
They soon land, but Carson persuades Captain Rich
That Miss Pratt’s a bomber with hand on the switch.
He says she wants money, which Rich wires in.
Thus Carson’s the bad guy and always had been.
He kidnapped poor Julia amid all those folks
And a stewardess helped him to pull off the hoax.
When the whole plane is emptied, they play cat and mouse,
And Carson admits that he killed Kyle’s spouse.
Miss Pratt knows the plane, all the rooms, electronics,
And at last locates Julia, drugged, in Avionics.
She hides in a hatch, having gotten the trigger,
And blows Carson up (the blast could have been bigger).
With Julia again, she has proof that she’s sane
And innocent too, though she did wreck the plane.
Thus, Julia and Kyle will no longer fly:
They now prefer driving instead (wonder why).

Flightplan, while not Jodie Foster’s most successful movie, has a great performance from her as a grieving mother who questions her own sanity. As the director stated was his intention, the movie starts slow and gets increasingly intense as Kyle’s panic rises and the villain is revealed. The initial secrecy surrounding the villain is also done quite well with several people potentially in on it, from seemingly unsympathetic stewardesses to Arab passengers all being suspected and eventually vindicated. Peter Sarsgaard is also cool and calculating as Carson, whose apparent nonchalance at first evolves into devious cunning.

I will admit that, though all the elements of Carson’s ingenious plot are basically explained, it seems that he went through quite a lot of trouble to pull off his scheme. I can’t help but think there was an easier way than killing a man, hiding a bomb in his coffin, stealing a little girl, framing an anxious mother as a terrorist, and somehow getting away with the $50 million. Also, there was some profanity, though significantly less than that other Jodie Foster movie Panic Room.

Overall, Flightplan is a taut thriller that embodies that primal fear of losing one’s child and indicts the selfish tunnel vision that the passengers displayed in not noticing Julia.

Best line: (a kid to her parent, after Julia is found) “I told you there was a little girl.”

Artistry: 5
Characters/Actors: 6
Entertainment: 6
Visual Effects: 4
Originality: 5
Watchability: 5
Other (language): -3
TOTAL: 28 out of 60

Tomorrow: #339: Gaslight (another movie with a woman doubting her sanity)

© 2014 S. G. Liput