Review Date: September 23, 2005
Director: Robert Schwentke
Writer: Peter A. Dowling, Billy Ray
Producers: Brian Grazer
Jodie Foster as Kyle
Peter Sarsgaard as Gene
Sean Bean as Captain Rich
A woman, shattered by the sudden death of her husband, gets on a plane with his coffin and her daughter, hoping to return to America, bury the poor man and re-ignite her life with said child. Waking up during the flight, she discovers her daughter to be missing, and spends the rest of the film/flight trying to find her. Everyone helps, feels sorry for her, thinks she’s drunk until…well, nobody remembers seeing the daughter with her in the first place. Is the woman nuts? Does her daughter even exist? Is that Harvey Keitel in a pimp outfit in the background? German thrills ensue. Call me, Erika!!
Two thirds of this movie is pretty gosh-darn good and suspenseful. The third act, on the other hand…meh, not so much. That said, I’m still going out on a limb to recommend this film in theaters, but ever so slightly, if only because the first 2/3 were decent enough, and I don’t like castrating a movie simply because its final act doesn’t totally come through. Also, the actors were all pretty solid (even Sarsgaard, despite looking like he was falling asleep half the time), we’re given 2 hottie stewardesses and ultimately, I was pretty intrigued by the whole affair…that is, up until it resolved itself and…well, it didn’t turn out to be as great as I hoped it might be. The film will definitely “work” better on video, but if you’re into thrillers, appreciate the lead actors, particularly Jodie Foster and Sean Bean (Boromir!!!), who respectively make believers of their characters, you might still get a tingle in your pants in theaters as well. The film also tosses a slew of politically incorrect moments into the soup, including the ol’ “arabs on a plane” angle, as well as a possibly disturbed woman being chastised by the masses (not much sympathy for this freaked-out lady, let me tell you). I enjoyed all of those uncomfortable moments because ultimately, as much as Foster seemed to be in quite the horrible situation – her daughter disappearing and all – everyone did such fine jobs in their roles that even I wanted to tell her to “shut the f*ck up and sit down already!” on many an occasion as well.
So it worked…they twisted my mind enough to go along with whatever they wanted me to go along with until…well, again…the third act which essentially goes in a certain direction (there really aren’t many ways to go actually) that doesn’t really work, but if you don’t really think about it too hard as it’s happening, won’t bother you all too much either, until you walk out of the theater, think back and laugh at how ridiculous that resolution really is. In other words, if you’re one of those people who cannot handle much suspension of disbelief in your thrillers, you’re likely better to skip this sucker altogether as there’s nothing really new that comes out of it, and you’re sure to get pretty pissed by the way it all comes together (or in this case, doesn’t really come together). If you’re “easier” on thrillers because you work hard all week and just want to be kept in suspense for a little while, and then not really care about whether or not the film is gonna swipe your mind a la FIGHT CLUB or THE SIXTH SENSE, then I’m sure you’ll get some entertainment value out of this film, if only because the directing is sharp, the actors all nice and believable (wake up, Sarsgaard!!), Boromir is the man and it kept me guessing for most of the way, which only a very small percentage of films are able to accomplish nowadays. It did feel longer than it actually was though; the film only runs about 95 minutes, but felt like two hours. Next up for Jodie Foster: stuck on a train with her daughter and Jared Leto with a bomb, she trembles, she cries…she’s Jodie Foster in yet another nutty thriller!!
(c) 2017 Berge Garabedian