I don't like to sleep on airplanes. Something about the idea of napping among hundreds of strangers condemns me to wakefulness from takeoff to landing. Getting some shut-eye won't be any easier now that I've seen Flightplan, director Robert Schwentke's taut thriller in which a little girl appears to have vanished in the midst of a trans-Atlantic flight.
While the plot does ask us to suspend our disbelief to a degree, it would be a crime to miss a movie this good looking and well acted. Jodie Foster turns in a tour-de-force performance as an aeronautics engineer who turns the plane upside down in search of her missing daughter. You just can't look away.
Working with a limited color palette and in the tight quarters of the plane, director Schwentke creates a minimalist's delight in an anamorphic 2.35:1 frame. Small details like the eerie morphing faces in a multicultural video boarding announcement or a heart drawn in fogged breath on a windowpane stand out.
James Horner's original orchestral score is spine tingling, while Dave McMoyler as supervising sound editor deserves significant kudos for making the sound effects and music mesh so perfectly with the action. Every rattle and thud keeps you on the edge of your seat wondering whether a wing will fall off or a body materialize. The dialogue and accompaniment come through delightfully clear in both the Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS audio options.
Extras include a detailed commentary track by Schwentke and nearly an hour of behind-the-scenes featurettes on the story, cast, and effects, making for a solid if not spectacular DVD package. Overall, this is first-class entertainment.