I watched the movie ‘Flight Plan’ on TV last night. Well, most of it, anyway. I missed the beginning. Normally, Jodie Foster’s presence in a movie automatically lends it a certain quality. It can usually be assumed to be a cut above. Not this time. There was a glaring mistake so bad it insulted both my intelligence and my national pride.
If you aren’t familiar with it, the story is about a woman whose daughter goes missing in a passenger jet mid-flight over the Atlantic Ocean and her subsequent struggle to find her and convince everyone else on board that she was ever there. The plot thickens as it twists and turns then at some point the decision is made to make a premature landing in Newfoundland.
Initially, I was impressed by how perfectly the characters pronounced “Newfoundland”, with the emphasis on the last syllable and virtually eliminating any vowel sound from the second syllable. Most Canadians west of the Gulf of St. Lawrence don’t even say it right, enunciating and emphasizing the middle syllable instead. Gander was later mentioned by name. “Well”, I thought, “they seem to know their stuff. Here are some Hollywood types who actually took the time to find something out about Canada. At last, a little respect”.
All that came to an abrupt end when the plane landed at Gander, Newfoundland, and dozens of FBI agents were waiting for it. FBI agents! What are FBI agents doing in Gander, Newfoundland in the middle of the night? What country is Newfoundland a part of? And what country is the FBI an agency of?
This is cultural imperialism aimed at Canada, plain and simple - a complete and utter lack of respect. You know as well as I do that if the plane had landed in Britain, MI5 or MI6 or MIwhatever agents would have been waiting. But, we don’t even rate our own federal agents in the movies. What, they’ve never heard of the RCMP? Everybody’s heard of the mounties. And, when it comes to airport showdowns, they taser with the best of them. They always get their man, necessary or not.
Maybe the producers went even further and simply annexed Newfoundland and Labrador for the U.S. Maybe they figured that would make the plot simpler. Maybe they’re not even aware it’s in another country. The movie industry already considers Canada a part of the U.S. We’re included in the ‘domestic’ market by distributors. Why not just extend that into the plots of movies?
Ms. Foster, I’m officially over my ‘Taxi Driver’ crush. Having said that, if you’re ready to respect me… call me.