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Directed by Robert Schwentke

Buena Vista Pictures
93 minutes (PG-13 rating for violence, intensity)

Commentary by Kevin Miller

Can you stick to your beliefs even when circumstances seem to contradict them and everyone around you thinks you’re nuts? Aerospace engineer Kyle Pratt faces this test to the nth degree when her six-year-old daughter apparently goes missing midway through an overnight flight from Berlin to New York.

How could such a thing happen, you ask? Perhaps you’ve never been introduced to the E-474 aircraft, capable of carrying up to 425 passengers plus crew. In addition to several levels of comfortable coach seating (your first tip that this is a fictional plane), a first class section to die for, and even a glittering bar and lounge, the aircraft contains enough secret doorways and passages to qualify as a funhouse at your local theme park.

So, kidnapping a little girl and hiding her in the belly of such a beast is possible. But why would anyone do it? And why this particular girl? That’s exactly what the crew and passengers are asking as Pratt’s anxiety intensifies. Their skepticism seems entirely justified. Not only is the girl’s name missing from the passenger manifest, no one on board can remember seeing her.

Add the fact that Pratt just lost her husband due to an apparent suicide (she’s actually accompanying his body back to New York for burial), and the case for Pratt being nothing more than a delusional, grieving widow seems all but closed—or is it? Not as far as Pratt is concerned. Logic and circumstances aside, she is determined to find her daughter before the plane lands, leading to an escalation of events that can best be described as “Panic Room on a plane.”

Pratt’s situation brings to mind the opening lines of Rudyard Kipling’s classic poem “If”:

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too…

This almost sounds like a backdoor definition of faith, a belief in something that allows you to transcend circumstances and influences to the point where you are willing to sacrifice everything for something you cannot see, hear, taste or feel.

Hebrews 11:1 defines faith as “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Pratt certainly exemplifies this virtue throughout her ordeal. Few of us ever have our beliefs tested to the same degree as she does in this film, but its nice to think we would all hold up as well as she.

Copyright @ 2005 Kevin Miller.


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