Flightplan (2005) Poster


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  • Following the death of her husband in Berlin (Germany), aircraft propulsion engineer Kyle Pratt (Jodie Foster) and her six-year-old daughter Julia () are flying his casket to New York for burial. Because the plane is not filled, they take some empty seats in the back so that they can stretch out and get some sleep. Three hours later, when Kyle awakens from her nap, Julia is gone. At first, she thinks Julia just wandered off, but it soon becomes apparent that no one on the plane remembers seeing her, there is no boarding pass, no name on the passenger manifest, and, worst of all, the hospital where her husband was pronounced dead says that Julia also died with him. When no one, not even Captain Marcus Rich (Sean Bean) nor Air Marshal Gene Carson (Peter Sarsgaard) will help her, Kyle is forced to take things into her own hands.

  • Flightplan is based on a screenplay by screenwriters Peter Dowling and Billy Ray.

  • When Kyle fell asleep, Julia was loaded into a food cart and rolled away without anyone noticing.

  • No. Although similar looking, the men in the window were not the men on the plane. The director's commentary on the DVD confirms this.

  • Toward the end of the movie, it is revealed that Kyle's husband was purposely pushed off the building by the hijackers.

  • The hijackers' ambitious plan was to ransom the airplane by demanding 50 million dollars from the airline, all to be deposited in a certain bank account, while making it look like Kyle was the hijacker. They picked on Kyle because she was the engineer who designed the propulsion system and had working knowledge of the airplane's layout, which would give credence to the idea that she got into the avionics deck and planted the explosives that would blow up the plane at the end. They also needed a way to get the explosives on board so they killed Kyle's husband and, under the belief that airlines don't x-ray caskets, they bribed the morgue director to plant explosives under the lid of his casket which was being transported to the U.S. for burial. Because the casket was sealed with a security lock to which only Kyle had the combination, they kidnapped Julia and made Kyle look like a crazy lady so that, at some point, she would go back into the hold to open her husband's casket while searching for her daughter. They would then retrieve the detonator, plant the explosives, get Kyle arrested by the FBI, and blow up the airplane with Julia in it, so that there was no evidence that Julia ever was on the flight.

  • It was a direct flight between Germany and the United States but, when the captain is made to believe that Kyle is a terrorist, they make an emergency landing in Newfoundland, Canada.

  • In possession of the detonator, Kyle eludes Carson and goes to the avionics section in search of Julia. Carson follows her, admitting how he and Stephanie stuffed her daughter into a food bin with no one even noticing or caring. Kyle finally finds her unconscious daughter. She and Julia hide in a noncombustible compartment, after which she detonates the explosives, killing Carson. Carrying the still sleeping Julia, Kyle exits to the tarmac via a cargo door while everyone watches in awe. Later, as Kyle and Julia wait with the other passengers in a holding area, Captain Rich apologizes to Kyle. Stephanie is shown being led away in handcuffs. FBI agents ask Kyle to identify a picture of the morgue director who handled her husband's body and casket. In the final scene, Kyle and Julia walk toward a waiting car while the passengers watch with respect for her tenacity. One of the Arab passengers holds Kyle's bag while she places Julia in the car. Julia begins to awaken and asks, "Are we there yet?" Julia chuckles. "Not yet," she replies, "but almost."

  • It is not acknowledged as such, but the similarities are undeniable. In The Lady Vanishes (1938) (1938), an elderly passenger vanishes from the train while the heroine is sleeping, and all the other passengers later deny that they even saw her. In Flightplan, the daughter disappears from the plane while the mother sleeps, and again all the passengers and crew deny she was ever there. But even more identical to both is the plot device by which the heroine realises she is right and that something sinister is happening. In both movies, the elderly lady and the daughter write something on a steamy window, and it is later seen by the respective heroines and thereby sets them on their path to solve the mystery once and for all.

  • Other movies that feature a mother looking for her missing daughter are Bunny Lake Is Missing (1965) (1965), in which a mother arrives to pick up her daughter after her first day at school but there is no record of her, and Silent Hill (2006) (2006), in which woman goes in search for her daughter within the confines of a strange, desolate town called Silent Hill. Two movies about sisters searching for brothers who vanished after they checked into posh hotels include So Long at the Fair (1950) (1950) and The Midnight Warning (1932) (1932). Abandoned (2010) (2010) features a man gone missing from his hospital bed, but the hospital denies he was ever there in the first place. The Hangover (2009) (2009) is a Las Vegas-set comedy centered around three groomsmen who lose their about-to-be-wed buddy during their drunken misadventures then must retrace their steps in order to find him. If it's terror in the air that you like, you might enjoy watching Red Eye (2005) (2005), in which a woman discovers that she's been kidnapped by her seatmate, and Snakes on a Plane (2006) (2006), in which poisonous snakes escape their cages and roam about the airplane cabin.


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