Christy and Bruce rented this.
John Cusack appears to enjoy picking odd movies. The previews made this look like it was probably a comedy. I don't remember the quips they used in the previews, but I do remember having the impression that it seemed almost a silly or even slapstick comedy. They attempted a lot of humor, but it didn't come off as a straight comedy. I guess they were trying for over the top, kind of like Grosse Pointe Blank. They didn't pull it off.
I guess they were trying to make some statement about a group of people who work together in a low-profile, but very high tension and high stakes job. But pretty much all the characters playing controllers came across as much too immature to me. In addition, they threw in some silly stuff that felt out of place. One bit part was a returning controller. Apparently they had a pool going on how far he'd make it before chickening out. As if they'd let someone in that condition actually control aircraft. The humor was just too simpleton to fit with what I think they were intending to say with this movie.
The Cusack and Thorton characters spend a lot of time trying to one-up each other. They pretend that they're not a couple of cowboys, but it's so blatantly obvious that they are that their denials come across as perfunctory plot points.
Similarly, the air traffic control incidents came across as too pat and contrived. I realize that they have to simplify and accelerate the action in order to get the timing they need for the drama. But I'm guessing it was obvious even to people who don't know how it works that they were simply being told, "something went wrong."
They did have one incredible scene where a guy gets tossed around by the wake turbulence of a 747. Andy and Bruce think it was done in front of a blue screen. But it looked real to me. I don't see how they could get a guy to move like that if he were being jerked around by wires.
The movie couldn't decide if it wanted to be bizarre, a drama, or just a straight soap opera. On my brother's Total Movie Value Scale, Pay Per View.
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