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Banish your fear of flying


Flightplan (English)

Director: Robert Schwentke

Cast: Jodie Foster, Peter Sarsgaard

"Flightplan" is yet another movie hoping to cash in on post-9/11 paranoia of flying but fails miserably. The plot is so convoluted that at the end of it all you come away with the feeling that flying is quite safe after all.

Jodie Foster plays Kyle Pratt, whose daughter goes missing on an airliner en route from Berlin to New York. Kyle takes the trip to New York because her husband has jumped off the roof of their apartment and his body has to be carried home. The movie begins in a style that starkly resembles Hitchcock but fizzles out soon after.

First, the aircraft that is central to the movie is as real as Santa Claus. The `474', as it is called, is supposed to be the biggest aircraft ever, and Kyle is the engineer who designed its engines (and, believe it or not, knows every single wire and joint in the craft). Why a phoney aircraft was used, nobody knows. Countless air-drama movies have used real aircraft. And this aircraft isn't just big, it is cavernous. Sometimes, when the scenes shift to its innards, you feel the passengers are cheated because there seems to more space for cargo than there is for them.

Soon after Kyle discovers her daughter is missing she begins her frantic search, which only ends up bouncing off the circular walls of the aircraft. Then comes the revelation that the girl is not even on the passenger list and nobody seems to have seen the child get onboard. More frantic searching and a lot of screaming and crying follow. And finally, there is a pathetic excuse of a climax.

Why the supremely talented Foster chose this role is a mystery. Though she does justice to her part, she is sorely let down by everything around her.

Director Robert Schwentke does a good job of showing the airline crew from an ordinary air traveller's perspective. They are as "professionally polite" as they can get.

The movie must get full marks for production design. If you are one who looks for slick camerawork and snazzy sets, you won't be disappointed. If you are a Foster fan, there are a number of close-ups of her for you to drool over.

ANAND SANKAR

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