I used to have a fear of flying or rather a fear of not flying. Of plummeting.
Now I have a fear of movies about flying, because if Red Eye and Flightplan
are any indication there is a lot of things to fear in the sky other than
terrorists, abusive air, and Q: The Winged Serpent.
"Wait. This plane has… a PINBALL MACHINE?"
Red Eye starts off rather strong with
Rachel McAdams playing a hotel manager and the daughter of a retired political
bigwig played by the once ubiquitous Brian Cox dealing with the stress of her
job and the always miserable practice of air travel. She’s a perky and likable
actress playing a perky and likable character and she keeps what could be
trivial banter from being trivial. You care about this girl. In the first chunk
of Wes Craven’s breezy thriller McAdams carries it well and the early moments
where she interacts with potential nice guy Cillian Murphy are playful and
Flightplan starts off rather oddly with a
more artful approach but a coldness that defies even the nature of the
material, in which a mother (Jodie Foster) and her daughter are coping with the
loss of her husband and preparing to fly his coffin to the states so he can be
sent packing properly. There’s not much personality here but with such maudlin
proceedings you just need something to keep things interesting and there’s not
much of that on display here. This is a very well crafted film, almost to a
fault. It’s overdesigned just enough and just standoffish enough so that the
audience is always at arm’s reach. It doesn’t help that Jodie Foster, always a
compelling screen presence, never seems truly invested in things to bring the
audience with her. The first chunk of this film sets the stage for coldness and
detachment, virtues in a drama but parasites to a compelling thriller.
The stewardess (or flight attendant or air whore, whatever the political thing to call them these days) asks that you turn off your cell phones and buckle your seat belts. This is going to be a bumpy flight. There’s a lot of Ray Liotta and Lauren Holly in the air.
Edge: Red Eye
"Don’t cry, baby. You know what they say. Never judge a man’s penis size by 28 Days Later. Please?"
a little longer for Red Eye to get airborne and it’s that film that ultimately
spends more time on the ground, so the focus is less about the flight itself as
is the case with Flightplan. Still, the moments in the air are fairly tense
because of the confined area of one row of seats or the airplane’s toilet.
Close-quarters is hard to pull off, but when your main weapon is dialogue and
implied menace I think you’re in pretty good shape if you have capable
performers. For the first forty-five minutes of its running time, Red
Eye is quite effective and it blows Flightplan out of the
sky. The latter has the benefit of bigger names and seeing Sean Bean, Peter
Sarsgaard, and the once promising Greta Scacchi is almost enough. But it isn’t.
Seeing Jodie Foster go around this amazingly high tech plane looking for her
daughter isn’t as exciting as it could have been, especially since the villain
of the piece is about as difficult to find as sand on a beach. There are some
moments where things feel tense and there is something to be said for having
such good talent in the thing, but it never really allows its audience to get
We will now be serving dinner to all onboard except for The Accused and The People Under the Stairs. If you requested a vegetarian meal, please proceed to the Man-Thing’s cock.
Edge: Red Eye
See? The terrorists are LOSING.
where both of these films stink. Once Red Eye hits the ground it gets
dumber than a Best Buy manager. There’s a car chase for fuck’s sake. What goes
from a good thriller concept, a high concept in every sense of the word becomes
a female empowerment flick where McAdams basically keeps Cillian Murphy at bay
like a nuisance and any sense of danger is lost. He’s intimidating in
close-quarters but he isn’t menacing enough or physically intimidating enough
to be the bad guy chasing her around the house. The film quickly loses its
momentum and forgets what it was trying to be. Anyone who felt that Collateral
got stupid in the last act (which I’ll fight like a wolverine) will really hate
this. The Foster flick, after the dumbest reveal since High Tension (yeah it was
only months ago but it’s not my fault filmmakers got lame in 2005), becomes a
cat and mouse thing with a very insipid terrorist plot and decidedly
non-supernatural storytelling. It goes from being a potentially puzzling thing
to something we’ve seen a ton of times already. It’s still better here than Red
Eye. Why? No car chase.
The captain has told us that we will beginning our descent into Philadelphia and by descent he means crash and by Philadelphia he means "a place worse than the crash itself".
films end poorly. One with a whimper and the other with a bang that seems to
defy logics and aeronautics and other things ending in “ics”. Both scuttle
interesting possibilities. Both make me want to fly less.
Please return your seats to the upright position and make sure you have all your belongings. Thank you for flying with us, it’s not like you had a choice.
Sorry Rachel. It’s not polite to stair.
offer a commentary track and a variety of featurettes and whatnot. What
surprised me was the presence Dracula 2000 helmer Patrick Lussier as editor of Red
Eye. He’s sneakily all over the place, as evidenced by my bath with
Patrick Lussier this morning. These are attractive, well-appointed discs and
they are both very safe choices for mainstream
those people need to be challenged and these are most certainly not the films
to do so. Nice DVD’s, but they don’t make the films any better.
Edge: Red Eye
LOSER: NICK NUNZIATA