A thrilling panic room at 36,000 feet
By BILLY NORRIS
Published September 26, 2005
RATING: PG-13 for violence and some intense plot material
SUMMARY: Kyle Pratt (Jodie Foster) is leaving her job as a jet propulsion engineer in Berlin to go back to the United States after the tragic death of her husband. She boards a flight with her anguished 6-year-old daughter, Julia (Marlene Lawston), to New York. The plane is a new state-of-the-art E-474 aircraft, which Kyle designed. Everything is fine until Julia disappears midflight. Kyle grows more frantic as she searches for her daughter. As she begins to frighten the other 400 passengers, air marshal Gene Carson (Peter Sarsgaard) steps in. Neither the crew nor other passengers saw Julia, and they begin to doubt Kyle's sanity. She believes that someone aboard the plane has kidnapped Julia. Kyle must use her wits and extensive knowledge of the plane to save her daughter.
MY VIEW: Can you say edge of your seat? This is a completely nail-biting thriller that feeds off post-9/11 air travel fears. Produced by Academy Award-winning producer Brian Grazer (A Beautiful Mind), this was a very crafty film. Trick foreshadowing and the recurring use of flashbacks to blur the divide between reality and imagination effectively mold the story line into a psychological chess game. I was pleased that the most significant plot twist remained concealed instead of sticking out like a sore thumb from the outset. However, the implausibility factor was extremely high, and the filmmakers never succeeded tying up one major loose end. This irked me enough to lower my initial grade for this film; in my book, you should finish what you start.
RECOMMENDATIONS: This is a fun movie. It succeeds in entertaining without patronizing the audience and falling into the deathtrap of thriller cliches. It's worth the full price of admission.
- Billy Norris, 17, is in the 12th grade at Seminole High School and is a former member of the X-Team.
[Last modified September 23, 2005, 12:39:20]
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