Pushing Tin

Dir: Mike Newell
Starring: John Cusack, Billy-Bob Thornton, Cate Blanchett, Angelina Jolie

Right up there with Final Destination and The Twilight Zone, as films you won't be seeing in-flight, this has Cusack and Thornton as hot-shot air-traffic controllers, responsible for preventing downtown New York from getting a sudden shower of aluminium, while fending off nervous breakdowns, professional hatred and each other's wives (Blanchett and Jolie). The techno-geek side is nicely handled, with a sharp sense of them teetering on the edge, in a job once described as "59 minutes of boredom, and one of sheer terror" - the way aces like Cusack visualise things is depicted with a good visual flair. However, the emotional angle drags things down badly, Jolie in particular seeming like a waste of space - it's hard to work out why someone like Thornton, with a fondness for letting Jumbo jets part his hair (the film's most memorable scene), ever married her. Cusack delivers his usual good performance, turning the dialogue of plane handling into something approaching poetry. Yet as soon as he and the film leave the close confines of the control-room, the sense of claustrophobia and urgency evaporates, and you're left with little more than an angst-driven relationship movie. The more you see of that, the more you'll find yourself looking for the emergency exits...which are located here, here and here.


Game over, man! 
Game over!
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