It happens sometimes. In 1995 two Scottish movies came out within two months of each other: the terrific Rob Roy, and that overblown farrago and Mel Gibson ego trip, Braveheart. Unfortunately, the farrago took home all the gold. In 2005 it’s this one, and Red Eye a few months ago. Both take place largely on airplanes. Both involve strong women in an impossible situation. And, happily, both women do everything right. They think, and they act. But you have to compare them, and I’m afraid Red Eye was just a tad better. Which is not to say this one is bad. Not at all.
Jodie Foster is an aircraft engineer. Her husband has just fallen or jumped off a roof in Berlin, and she and her daughter are taking his body home to America. Jodie falls asleep, and her daughter vanishes. It’s a great situation. This is a big, big plane, bigger than anything currently flying, though Airbus has announced a double-decker that should be about this big. But it’s finite, and seems to have been searched top to bottom. Where is she? The question of Jodie’s sanity is raised, and she has to tread a careful line between getting people looking for the girl and appearing crazy. It’s a losing battle. But since she helped build this plane, she knows all its secrets … and I can’t tell you more.
The director plays fair, mostly, and the explanation holds up, mostly. Well, sure, it’s too bloody elaborate for the real world, but this is the movies, okay? And the airplane set is flat-out wonderful, it becomes a main character in itself. You get to know the plane as well as your own backyard.