Wednesday, 28 June 2006

Vanishing flight plans

Last week we watched Hitchcock's "The Lady Vanishes", a black and white film from 1938. We borrowed the DVD from the local council's library, which often proves to be a far more potent source for good material than your run of the mill Blockbuster that packs only the latest shit.
[By the way, we saw it on our late, miniscule TV - soon to go on eBay]
Anyway, the thing about this film is that the more recent Flightplan, starring Jodie Foster, is based upon it.
And the thing I'm trying to say in here is that although we watched Flightplan and liked it (and you're welcome to refer to an historical review published on this very blog), it is not even remotely close to being as good as Hitchcock's original.
I'll give it one thing: Production values are far superior. But that's it.
Hitchcock's film is much more complete: You get the sense of mystery and intrigue, but every character is well developed and every character is a story on its own; Flightplan has only one round character, and we don't even really know what her story is. The rest of Flightplan's characters are just a vague background, and while in the Hitchcock version everything merges together seamlessly, Flightplan is fairly linear and not so unique once its mystery is resolved.
I guess it's a sign of the times and how the people and the world have changed; Flightplan smells much more contemporary in the way people don't get in touch with one another anymore in a world busy fighting an elusive "war on terror", and that remoteness is probably what the film is trying to convey; but as far as genius in making a film is concerned, I'd take Hitchcock's noisy black & white version.
And it's even original.

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