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Altitude [Celluloid Hero]


Altitude (2010)


When you set out to write a movie that will last 90 minutes, you probably shouldn’t spend the first 30 minutes making sure that every character is unlikeable. The writer and director of “Altitude” failed in that aspect, and it dragged the entire movie down.

Five “friends” get together to take a small plane for a weekend trip to a big music festival. I put “friends” in quotes because it becomes immediately evident that within this small group, it seems like each of them hates at least one other person. These also don’t seem to be new traits, so it’s a mystery as to why these five agreed to go on a trip with eachother.

The tension does build as Sara, an amateur pilot, begins to lose control of the plane. Machinery stops working, gauges read incorrectly, and the plane gets lost inside a seemingly endless storm cloud. The passengers begin to yell, accuse, and fight with the others. The situation grows more and more dire, with various attempts at salvation failing and the end growing closer and closer.

I’ve said before that it is sometimes hard to tell when actors drag down a script, or a script leaves the actors with nothing. In this case, it seemed to be a bit of both. The script forced the actors into such absurd dialogue and actions, but the actors didn’t do anything to try to redeem themselves.

I was able to enjoy a few moments, mostly the initial eye candy of Jessica Lowndes. I also liked some of the camera work, taking advantage of the duality of the cramped space of a tiny airplane contrasted with a vast emptiness of sky. These elements still weren’t quite enough to make this much of a memorable movie.


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On the [Celluloid Hero] scale, “Altitude” gets a 3 out of 10.

[Each week, Varacchi explores cinema from his own perspective. From indie to foreign to mainstream, he’ll watch it all. Suggestions and recommendations are welcome, leave a comment below. CLICK HERE for the Celluloid Hero archives]

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