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Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Scoot McNairy, Maggie Grace, Glenn Morshower, Martin Donovan

Director: Elliott Lester

A film about guilt and grief, this is not an easy watch. Its tragic drama is centred on two characters. Jake Bonanos (McNairy) is an air traffic controller left alone one fateful evening while his partner is on a short break. He guides a plane down to 6,000 feet, then tries to connect a broken phone line, taking his headphones off momentarily and not hearing the pilot of another plane radioing that he is descending to the same level.

The inevitable resulting mid-air collision causes the death of 271 people. Jake is devastated. He is forced to change his name and move to another town, separated from his wife (Grace) and son.

First in the story, however, we meet Roman Melnyk (Schwarzenegger), a construction worker looking forward to the return of his own wife and pregnant daughter from an eastern Europe trip. They are, of course, on the doomed plane, and Melnyk is consumed with grief.

A year or so later, he sets out to track Jake down...

The two male stars give two of their best screen performances in this gut-wrenching drama which, if nothing else, underlines the importance of the ATCs in keeping travellers safe in the sky. The film, however, is rather slow-moving as well being intensely melancholy and, despite its sundry merits, it's hard to imagine anyone actually wanting to sit through such a catalogue of misery.

David Quinlan

USA 2016. UK Distributor: Signature. Colour (unspecified).
94 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 06 Apr 2017