Jodie Foster Gives Routine FLIGHTPLAN A Lift

It’s hard to write a consistently good script. Believe me, I know. On the first draft, some scenes work immediately. With others, I get the basics, but need to make some adjustments. Other scenes, I’m just maintaining momentum, and I’ll rework it when inspiration strikes. Finally, there’s the trouble scenes; moments that I rewrite again and again, and no matter how hard I toil, it never matches the quality of the rest of the script.

Eventually, I have to believe the good moments will overwhelm the trouble spots. We all strive to write a perfect script, and sometimes we might succeed, but the number of screenwriters who can deliver a steady level of quality almost every time, you can count on one hand.
FLIGHTPLAN’s script is a classic example of slam-dunks offset by a few bricks. The plot is mostly clever, but right when I think the movie is being pretty damn ingenious, along comes a moment or line of dialogue that makes me cringe. Most of the moments, I understand why they’re there. The story needs for certain things to happen or people to react a certain way. But no matter how good a movie is, the moment rings false.

(A colossal example of this is the auto accident in CRASH. The scene is arguably the high point of the movie, but the coincidence is just not believable, and the way that moment doesn’t influence the rest of the film is inexcusable.)

What keeps FLIGHTPLAN from becoming this year’s THE FORGOTTEN is the stellar work by the cast. And here’s the part I love about my work because I get to talk about how amazing Jodie Foster is.
Really, does it come as any surprise that she’s so good here. In my strong opinion, Foster is the best actress working in films today. Every moment is completely authentic, and she’s given quite a dynamic character to play, a mother whose child goes missing on an airplane. Foster is by turns fearful, angry, confused, sad, strong, a little crazed and always highly intelligent.

In fact, while watching Foster tear up the screen, I couldn’t help but think about how often she chooses thrillers over more award-worthy material. Her resume contains two Oscars, but very little along the lines of MONSTER or A BEAUTIFUL MIND. I don’t know why that is since she’s notoriously picky about scripts, but I’d like to see her do something next that’s more NORTH COUNTRY than PANIC ROOM.
Getting back to the story, I was worried in the beginning that FLIGHTPLAN was going to be a M. Night Shyamalan style thriller where we don’t know what’s going on until a giant plot twist at the end changes everything. I’m happy to report that the film does not go down that road. In fact the mystery of the first half gives way to a small series of revelations and plot twists that steer the picture into more straight ahead cat-and-mouse suspense. And unlike COLLATERAL, where the hunter becomes an unstoppable killing machine, FLIGHTPLAN feels realistic throughout its final moments.

...more or less. This kind of script always leaves some questions behind.

LINK:FLIGHTPLAN Review Provokes Strong Reaction


Blogger Humby said...

to compare FLIGHT PLAN to COLLATERAL is just simply ridiculous. COLLATERAL is not a great movie, but it is, with all of its faults, a good movie. a good movie from a master director (michael mann). FLIGHT PLAN is a weak script at best, uneven armature direction, and just a silly film. the actors are good... Foster is a great actress in a bad film. Saarsgard is a really good actor that sleeps his way through this film. i understand that you like FLIGHT PLAN more than COLLATERAL and that is fine, but COLLATERAL is simply a better made film from top to bottom. i like your "strong opinion"... i just happen to disagree with it this time

1:27 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home