What lengths would you go to if your daughter was missing? This is the question that is answered in Touchstone Pictures' newest release, the Hitchcockian "Flightplan" (IMDb listing). Directed by Robert Schwentke ("Tattoo"), the film follows recently widowed Kyle Pratt (Foster), who is bringing the body of her deceased husband home on a transatlantic flight. She is travelling with her daughter, Julia (Marlene Lawston). After a nap on the plane, Kyle wakes up to find her daughter gone. No one has seen her -- in fact, no one is sure she even exists. Has Julia been kidnapped or is Kyle delusional? How does a child get lost on a plane?
Originally written for a male lead, Foster jumped at the chance to play the role of a mother trying to find her daughter while debating within herself if she is hallucinating or if her daughter is really alive. It's a perfect, strong maternal role for Foster. We saw the same thing play out in "Panic Room," and now the confined space is a little larger in "Flightplan."
This is an exciting thriller/suspense movie where we find Pratt doing all he can to find her child, even if it does break the law, even if she is delusional. When she demands a full search of the plane, the attendants and even the captain (Sean Bean) are a little irritated, but they do so anyway. When they come up with nothing, Pratt's actions irritate the passengers (Peter Sarsgaard) along with the crew.
"Flightplan" may be compared to the recent airline thriller, "Red Eye," but the two films are like night and day. Red Eye is more of a horror film, while "Flightplan" take the more realistic approach of, "What would you do if your child went missing on a flight with no visible means of escape?"
"Flightplan" should do well across the board. Foster has a worldwide appeal and she is back in the Disney fold, where she began her career with 1972's "Napoleon and Samantha."
Amusing tidbit: Two of the principal actors, Sean Bean and Peter Sarsgaard, admit to a fear of flying and only fly when absolutely necessary. Sarsgaard, who's a bit claustrophobic, hated filming the scenes with Foster while they were travelling in a food cart elevator.
Filmfodder Grade: B