So here we have Jodie Foster apparently having a go at ‘Panic Room 2’. Certain aspects of Flightplan are unashamedly reminiscent of David Fincher’s brilliant thriller – from the strong, inexorable maternal heroine to the ‘impossible’ camera moves through the interior of the plane. Unfortunately however, whilst featuring an intriguing (if unoriginal) premise, the film simply fails to thrill.

FlightplanFoster is strong as always, but it really does seem like she’s reprising her role from Panic Room, even if she has upped the paranoia. She’s supported by a strong cast (including Garden State‘s Peter Sarsgaard), but many of them are vastly under-utilised. Sean Bean (National Treasure) is strong and for the first time not typecast, but he and Erika Christensen (The Upside of Anger) spend far too much time offscreen.

The opening scenes promised so much more, especially considering they contained elements not included within the trailer that’s been lurking on our screens for many months now. But after such an interesting setup, I just didn’t care by the time the climax came around. It’s not even that the twists are unrealistic or over the top, more that they’re simply uninteresting. Mainstream audiences are now savvy enough to demand more from a big budget thriller. If films aren’t endlessly twisting and turning (like in The Game) then they need to have a powerful hook (such as Panic Room) or a shocking and/or unforeseen denouement (think of M. Night Shyamalan’s films). If we don’t have any of these we’re left with The Forgotten or Flightplan, which whilst having some glimpses of hope, are never really compelling.

The special effects are rather unimpressive, and towards the end get outright silly. Overall there’s too much here we’ve seen before. The Hollywood philosophy that women only get to be strong heroes whilst protecting children (as pioneered in Aliens) is outdated, and Jodie Foster deserves much more.

Rating: 2.0 stars
Review by Stuart Wilson, 13th November 2005
Hoopla Factor: 2.0 stars

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