Airborne (Dominic Burns, 2012)
Airborne starts off with the best of intentions, though it’s a bit derivative of Snakes on a Plane atmosphere-wise (and really, there’s nowhere to go from there but down); having a passenger disappear from a plane mid-flight over the Atlantic Ocean is about the best locked-room mystery one could possibly come up with. And for about half this movie’s eighty minutes, Dominic Burns manages to give the locked-room-mystery angle its due, and this is actually a fun little movie, though it’s never anything more than that. Unfortunately, however, there’s a second half, where everything falls apart.
Plot: it’s the last flight out of England in the face of an oncoming hurricane, bound for New York City. Among the passengers: Alan (Burns regular Simon Phillips), a recently-dumped layabout who’s still flying to New York for his engagement party despite no longer having a fiancee; Max (Snatch‘s Alan Ford), the stereotypical bad guy, right down to having two musclehead bodyguards, Luke (The Descent‘s Craig Conway) and Smoker (Harry Brown‘s Forbes KB); Bob (played by Burns himself), an obnoxious Yankee history teacher; Kailash (East Is East‘s Raji James), a doctor; a handful of flight attendants, and a few other folks of varying importance to the story. Alan, already morose, is stuck in a window seat next to Bob. Flight attendant Laura (I Can’t Think Straight‘s Kimberly Jaraj), who also happens to be painfully single (see how that works?), takes pity on him and offers him a drink to help him sleep. Which works out fine, but when he wakes up, Bob has disappeared…
it’s silly but compelling… and then it hits the halfway point and takes a right turn into stupidland, roping in all kinds of ridiculous attempts at saving its own butt, each one feeling more and more like screenwriter Paul Chronnell was grasping at shorter and shorter straws. Eventually, he missed…but he did so about thirty minutes before he thought he did, based on this movie’s running time. *
Trailer. WARNING: the opening pair of title cards gives away pretty much everything in the movie that is supposed to inspire suspense.