Kiefer Sutherland Keeps Control of "Ground Control"
Roberta L. Bardsley | Walla Walla, WA United States | 06/26/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'm not a ground controller, so I won't even try to analyze the technical aspects of this movie. I fully admit that I purchased "Ground Control" mainly because Kiefer Sutherland is the star and I love his acting. Even in movies that aren't the "best", Kiefer always delivers a fine performance, and "Ground Control" is no exception. I could list some negatives about the movie, such as the inclusion of Kristy Swanson in the cast. This woman adds nothing to the plot and isn't the least bit convincing, except when it becomes obvious that she has her eye on Jack (Kiefer)and follows him around, even during what should be private moments for him. Nothing personal against Kristy, but most of her contribution could have ended up on the cutting room floor and it would have been no loss. Kiefer Sutherland, however, proves again what a versatile actor he is as the tormented Jack Harris, a top notch ground controller, who years later, still feels responsible for a crash that was not his fault. Now, as a favor to his friend, Jack comes to lend a hand at Phoenix ground control, and soon finds himself in an all too familiar situation. This movie would fall apart if Kiefer Sutherland had not been in the role of Jack Harris. This is Kiefer's movie all the way, and every facial expression and word and action is totally Kiefer. He had me thoroughly convinced of what Jack Harris had gone through, and was still going through. I actually learned a lot from this movie. I learned that being a ground controller is NOT a cushy job, and the controllers who keep thousands of planes safe every day are more often than not overworked and in danger of burnout.....but they keep going. I know I couldn't be that dedicated......this is not a job I could handle. I give "Ground Control" high marks. Sure, it may not fit the definition of "award winning", but Kiefer Sutherland plows through the weaknesses of the film and he simply makes it work!"
One of the best controller movies I know..
Alec Corday | 03/31/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"True, there aren't many. But among the few, Ground Control ranks as one of the best. Yes, it has little action, stunts or FX, but that is not the movie's point. It is the story of one controller as he tries to get back into controlling after an accident five years ago. The acting and technical correctness is superb, the director has done a good job in guiding his people and the camera. You want a movie with sex, violence and a complicated story? Then this one is not for you. You want a smart, fun movie that is up-to-date and about an unusual subject? You got it. Ground Control is your deal. A bit slow some people say? Only if you are into the wham-bam action flicks and not intellectual challenging one's. Alec over and out..."
Michael Butts | Martinsburg, WV USA | 07/04/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"In our society today, people seem to want everything to be "realistic." Who remembers when movies were escapism, when the audience didn't go to a movie to see the real thing, but to suffer along with its threatened cast or root for the good guy? So many reviewers want to shortchange a movie for its lack of technical expertise..if you want the real thing, maybe you should watch the Discovery Channel or rent a how to video. For escapism, GROUND CONTROL does well. It's main problem for me is that it is so grounded in trying to be realistic, it sabotages any dramatic effect it could have. While the climactic plane landing is well handled, the movie on a whole is nothing more than an expose on how short funded or understaffed the FAA is. Along with an expert performance from Kiefer Sutherland as guilt ridden controller Jack Harris, the movie offers nice turns from Drew Snyder as the pilot being coached in; Bruce McGill as Harris' former boss who tries to maintain both a good old Joe and a stern taskmaster demeanor; Henry Winkler as a frustrated maintenance technician hampered by bureaucratic nonsense and a non-existent budget; Kelly McGillis as the manager out to make a good impression, but ultimately deeply concerned about her team; Robert Sean Leonard as a cocky young controller who doesn't believe in thinking about the passengers on troubled flights; and Charles Fleischer as a stress-ridden controller. Wasted are Michael Gross as a fuss budget manager and Kristy Swanson as a geeky new controller.
GROUND CONTROL certainly maximizes the impact of good ground controllers, but as a movie it leaves you wanting a little more."
Watchable and Thourough though a bit unoriginal...
Alec Corday | 06/21/1999
(3 out of 5 stars)
""Ground Control" is another one of those air traffic controller movies. Sure, there hasn't been a whole genre of this film, but there are more films on this subject than you would think. Most people in this non-theatrical feature act very convincingly, and Henry Winkler's electrician Quinn is an entertaining comic relief. The mostly good acting and the above-average authenticity of controller actions, attitudes, and jargon save this movie.Otherwise, the plot is not too original, though it is executed somewhat stylishly and likeably. There are also way too many down points in the film where nothing exciting happens. It is definitely more of a drama of one air traffic controller, Jack Harris (Sutherland) coming to grips with re-entering the controller station after a plane crash on his watch five years ago, and should not be touted as an "action/adventure" picture."