Opening 20 Oct 2005
Jodie Foster stars in this Buena Vista International production, with Sean Bean (Boromir in The Lord of the Rings) and Peter Sarsgaard (Kinsey, Garden State) in supporting roles, directed by German-born and -raised Robert Schwenke.
Following the death of her husband, airplane engineer Kyle Pratt (Foster) and her six-year-old daughter board a plane (a two-story affair like the A380 Airbus) to accompany her husband's coffin back to the States. Once in the air and after a brief nap, Kyle discovers that her daughter in missing. Panic and confusion grow in her mind as she realises that no one remembers her with a child in the first place, the ground crew back in Berlin say she boarded the plane alone, and she can't find her daughter's boarding card stub. The tension grows as she pressures Captain Rich (Bean) into mobilising the entire crew into searching every inch of the plane. Seeing no successful results, Kyle takes things into her own hands with dogged determination and absolute conviction that she is not going crazy. She is eventually overcome and restrained by Air Marshal Gene Carson (Sarsgaard). Within a few hours, most of the plane firmly believes that she is a distraught, halucinating woman having difficulties coming to terms with the recent death of her husband AND daughter...
At the press screening we were asked (in fact, printed flyers were handed out) not to reveal the significant turning points and outcome of this movie. The truth is that, short of writing a bad novel, I would not be able to do so anyway. The logic is so convoluted, the thread so inconsistent and non-credible (dependant solely on a series of very unlikely coincidences), and the sequences so disjointed, that I would not know where to begin.
This is all a bit of a pity because Jodie Foster can do panic, confusion and tension very well. Box office results in the U.S. (2 weeks at No. 1 so far) would imply that it is enough for the general public; unfortunately, it is not enough for me nor anyone looking for a really intelligent story. I could quote any number of implausibilities, but I think that if I mention that three people in this movie committed murder, kidnapped a child, manipulated all kinds of difficult-to-access data, and threatened blowing up a billion dollar plane, for a total ransom of $500,000 (maybe just enough to buy them each a tiny apartment in Hamburg), I think I need say no more! (Osanna Vaughn)