Saturday, October 15, 2005


It's Panic Room in the skies! This is the second inflight entertainment (pardon the jab) movie from Hollywood this year, the other being Wes Craven's recent Red Eye. Jodie Foster again plays a vulnerable yet tough as nails mum, who is on a flight with her six year old daughter from Berlin to New York, taking with them the body of their recently deceased husband/father in a coffin (in the cargo hold of course).

However, before you can taste the airline food, her daughter is missing, and Mommy goes frantic in trying to look for her. But it seems that nobody on the airplane has seen the little girl, and it's all up to Mom to discover just what the heck is happening 30000 feet in the air, Of course things are made more difficult in a post 911 world of aviation, with bulletproof vault like cockpit doors, US Marshalls, and edgy passengers.

The first 5 minutes of the film is kinda confusing, as time is juxtaposed and not really explained much, besides trying to show the relationship between husband and wife, and suggesting that the tragedy might have led to Foster's deteriorated mindset.

But if compared to Red Eye, certainly this film takes the honour of being in the air a lot more, and on a state-of-the-art (read: fictitious airplane and airline) jumbo plan with many nooks and crannies. Rather than settle for an obvious villain upfront, this movie opted for more subtlety, which leaves you guessing who, and definitely want to know the why, though I must warn you by the time you're told the why, you might roll your eyes at probable absurdity (i.e. why go through all that trouble?)

Big names are attached to this project, and we all know that Foster is aptly able to carry a movie on her own. Joining her are Peter Sarsgaard (last seen in Skeleton Key), and Sean "Boromir" Bean as the Captain of the flight. Erika Christensen stars as one of the flight attendants without many lines and much to do (pity), and Kate Beahan came across as a Jennifer Lopez-Sarah Jessica Parker clone as one of the leading attendants.


Watch this film and you'll know why many flight attendants were so upset with the roles - they would all be out of a job if they behaved like their screen counterparts. Also, stereotypes are abound with the Arab passengers being accused of being part of the kidnap - hands up those of you who thought they had something to do with the dirty deed. And as if to rub salt into the wound, there was one American character who was all ready to pounce onto them.


The first half of the film built up the entire premise successfully, only to be brought back to normalcy by the usual Hollywood wham-bang action in a claustrophobic airplane. But nonetheless a thriller which satisfies up until the creative closing credits.

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