If Flightplan were a cocktail I guess it would be a Long Island Ice Tea, that is, a lot of perfectly good liquors mixed badly with sour mix. Flightplan: one part Sam Mendez moodiness, one part Hitchcock nobody-believes-me, and 3 parts Passenger 57 (whoever made that). If cola helps to hide a Long Island’s crapiness than the ingredient that saves this ill mixture is Jodi Foster. Foster plays a widowed mother whose young daughter vanishes on an in-flight airplane, and everybody thinks Foster is crazy. Since her enigmatic late 90’s hiatus, Jodi Foster returned to movies in roles that have seemed custom-fit. Some of these movies are below average — Contact, Panic Room, The Brave One — and at least one was great — Inside Man. But she is always consistently great.
Flightplan is successful its first half in creating discomfort and doubt about Foster’s situation and credibility. Do we question common sense? Is she delusional? Eventually Foster snaps out of it and begins to unwind the plot of an inconspicuous hijacker. Despite an honorable attempt by the screenwriters to patch every whole, the hijacker’s plan to keep everybody’s attention on Foster, while he steps off the place with $50 million, is preposterous. Flightplan starts out an interesting psychological thriller, but eventually finds itself in a circling pattern over “if these villains are smart enough to come up with this, why are they acting so dumb?”