Flightplan (2005)

flightplan-screenThese days I don’t expect masterpieces anymore. I just don’t. Film has progressed to the point where you just can’t expect greatness no matter how much you doubt yourself, and I rarely see films these days that I can say with all honesty was flawless. Of course, that’s almost impossible. With “Flightplan” I didn’t expect it to be a masterpiece, nor did I expect it to be a great film, but I wanted pretty damn good. And they couldn’t even serve me up that. Since when does ninety-three minutes of “Where’s my daughter?! I want to find my daughter!” qualify as a good movie these days? I want to know. Because, I can’t muster up the logic in the success of this film, this mediocre piece of crap.

“Flightplan” infuriates me only for the fact that it’s so contrived, so derived, and so utterly lame-brained, and yet—people bought in to it. Why? Well, that’s fodder for another article. The fact is that “FlightPlan” which was described as “presenting lapses in logic” actually insults the audience’s intelligence. I mean, I’ll admit it. Anything with Peter Saarsgard in it can’t be that bad. It’s another film about a wrecked woman who’s had a bad life, wakes up in a strange place, encountering strange people, and looking for their children. How many of these films can we have? They’re just the same damn formula over and over. Give me a break, here. I began this with an optimistic attitude, and when I was done, I was ready to shut it off and move on. I have a much lower tolerance for stupidity these days, and this is stupid.

When the generic characters aren’t spewing generic dialogue, the writer asks us to believe some of the most ridiculous plot devices in years, and I became increasingly angered at the giant lapses in logic. First off, how could they kidnap a little girl and carry her through all the departments and aisles without being spotted by anyone at least for a moment? How can they let Kyle roam free on-board even if she’s an engineer? Why would they hire an undercover air Marshall at all? Does an airplane designer really know about pilot and stewardess protocols and procedures? If it’s post 9/11, why would they have a plane with bathrooms that lead to tunnel-sized ventilators that have access to the plane’s machinery?! How did she figure out the detonator device while running and hiding?

Why was there all of a sudden a department that could fit her and her daughter and keep them from exploding in a plane filled with explosives? Nothing made a lick of damn sense, and when it wasn’t insulting our intelligence or featuring repetitive scenes of Foster crying, Foster whimpering, Foster screaming, and Foster running around, it makes a strong effort to look smart. How does it do that? Simple, by attempting to tackle stereotypes. But it fails in that endeavor as well because it’s just a hilarious sequence that goes on much too long. I mean Saarsgard can take even a cheesy villain role like this one and make it so damn cool. Saarsgard who has the Walken mentality for his mainstream films, really takes this one-dimensional character and makes it pop. I’ve yet to see a film with Saarsgard that I despise, and I know that moment may come soon.

Be that as it may, Saarsgard keeps the film afloat (or in the air), and his performance is good. It’s insulting watching this safe mediocre thriller vainly attempting social commentary and preaching of racial profiling just to pretend it’s being subversive, when really it’s so damn condescending. Foster’s performance is truly over the top with incredibly cheesy scenes including one where she’s being questioned by the flight attendants, and the camera pans around her at a high speed. “Flightplan” with one of the most drawn out chase scenes, is ridiculous. And I wasted my time. Ninety-eight minutes of tears, screams, and running around and this is a good movie? No. Even with the talents of Saarsgard, and Sean Bean, “Flightplan” is a dull, stupid waste of time; a mediocre bland attempt at a mystery, and a laughable attempt at social commentary, and none of it is ever successful.