Jodie Foster is my favorite living actress. Period. She starred in my favorite movie of all time and she's had a very interesting career. She only does projects she really wants to do, because she values spending time with her kids much more highly. This is frustrating for a fan, though, because it means she only does a movie every once in a while.
The plot is pretty solid thriller stuff. Woman loses her daughter on a plane, which means there's a very finite number of places she could be. The problem is, she's nowhere to be found, and the crew and passengers - and ultimately the woman herself - start to question whether the girl was ever on the plane. I won't say anymore about it, because the surprises are what keep the movie exciting. Well, that and the sheer cinematic force of Foster. There are several great actors in supporting roles - Sean Bean as the captain, Peter Sarsgaard as an air marshall, and Erika Christenson as a sympathetic flight attendant - but the film's impact rests squarely on Foster's shoulders. She plays the duality of her character well, and until about two-thirds of the way through the movie you're really not sure whether she's insane or not.
There's only one tiny cheat in the film, but I can forgive it because the plot works so well and is so involving. This is a really engaging movie and truly an edge-of-your-seat experience. "Inside the Actors' Studio" had Jodie Foster on last night and she talked a bit about it. Apparently, the character she played was originally supposed to be a man, and she convinced the filmmakers to make it a woman instead. Foster's reasoning for this was the scene where Kyle doubts his sanity and believes that the daughter is dead - that she has hallucinated this whole thing in the anguish of losing his wife and daughter. Foster said that a man would not do that. Men blame outward, while women blame inward. That it's why men are the serial killers and women kill their children. I think that's the key to that character and what makes her vulnerability so believable.
I think one of the best things I could say about Flightplan is that it's always a step ahead of you. Foster's character, Kyle, is an engineer who designed the very plane she's flying on. So she knows every inch of the plane, and is always a little smarter than the audience. This makes her neither a trembling victim nor an impossibly knowledgable hero. Not to mention the perfect action movie protagonist.