“97 Minutes,” directed by Timo Vuorensola and written by Pavan Grover, is as offhandedly made as it is named. Starring Alec Baldwin and Jonathan Rhys Meyers in key roles, this film has the appearance of a serious thriller. When in reality, it is a schlock offering some B-movie thrills. And it does offer a good amount of that. As a result, it is not a complete waste; it becomes quite passable as a thriller. There are genuine efforts from the cast, and hackneyed it may be, the story does consist of some interesting twists and turns that would mostly hold your attention.
97 Minutes (2023) Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis:
“97 Minutes” starts as most hijack movies would start. A quick and snappy splurge of violence where six armed individuals take control of a flight traveling from the United Kingdom to the USA. As they fly toward America, the Aviation department notices the status of the flight. Director Hawkins (Alec Baldwin) starts to take control as Chief Officer Toyin (Jo Martin) and her technical advisor, Remy (Michael Sirow), express their dissent.
Hawkins’ initial plan was to use the fighter planes to gun down the hijacked passenger flight, killing many innocent lives. Hawkins justifies that by saying even more innocent lives would be saved since the hijacked plane is not there for ransom. The group that hijacked the plane was a terrorist sleeper cell. So, their primary goal is to utilize the flight to do another terrorist attack on American soil.
Toyin says that the time has not come for such a drastic measure, as they have an undercover Interpol agent inside who is part of the same terrorist cell. That is when we see Alex (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) wake up on the plane and take the earpiece through which Toyin and Remy are communicating.
After regaining consciousness, Alex does a quick check in the cockpit, where Anan (writer Pavan Grover himself) and Marko (Davor Tomic) are controlling the plane. While coming out, he sees the pilot struggling for his last breath, with the pilot’s son trying to save him. Alex goes back to the hostages’ section and fetches people who could help save the pilot. One of them was Kim (MyAnna Buring), who is a doctor.
Alex confides in Kim. He tells her that he is an undercover Interpol agent. He asks for Kim’s help so that he can save everyone else and take the armed hijackers down. Alex starts to be true to his words as he saves the plane from imploding due to cabin pressure malfunctioning. He eliminates one of the terrorists, too, without raising suspicion from his colleagues. However, Anan, seemingly the leader of the group, keeps an eye on him.
Hawkins’ plan goes awry back on American ground as the fighter plane fails to shoot the hijacked flight (thanks to Alex’s nifty work). Instead, it hits another passenger flight. Toyin rebukes Hawkins, and he can’t take any more chances. Instead, he cedes to Toyin and asks if she and Remy can get Alex to download the failsafe code. If downloaded in the flight, the failsafe code would put the hijacked flight on auto-pilot and take it to a safe landing. As they are preparing for that, they get more information about the terrorist group. Hawkins recognizes one of the names in that group. Enid Slouris. Hawkins understands that the terrorist group’s destination is his location, as he and Enid have a history.
97 Minutes (2023) Movie Ending Explained:
Who Was the Undercover Interpol Agent?
As Alex starts to round up the hostages to overthrow the hijackers, with some help from Kim, some of the hijackers start to express doubt about Alex’s intention. Anan also shows Marko their nuclear weapon, which they plan to detonate in this seemingly suicide mission. Intervening seems all the more important. Toyin, Hawkins, and Remy relay the information to Alex so that he can download the code package for the failsafe. As the hostages, when signaled by Alex, overthrew two hijackers, Alex takes care of Anan and Marko.
Just when everything seems to be going okay, we see Alex not downloading the package. In a parallel scene, we see Kim talking to the dying Marko. Marko says that it is him who is the Interpol agent. In fact, he is the one who had the earpiece in the beginning. In a flashback scene, we see Alex merely finding the earpiece and taking it. Alex took the earpiece to know who among his team was the Interpol agent.
Alex has always been part of the terrorist cell. He pretended to be the agent to gain the trust of Kim and other hostages. As he was not sure who among his team was the agent, he strategically started to remove every one of his colleagues. It was not done to dismantle the group but to safeguard his own personal mission. This brings us to our next twist.
Who Is Enid Slouris? Why Did He Want Revenge on Hawkins?
Alex is Enid Slouris. The enigmatic and elusive leader of the terrorist cell. He has a personal vendetta against Hawkins. As Hawkins recounted to Toyin, Hawkins’s daughter died at the hands of a terrorist sleeper cell. This made Hawkins ruthless in counteracting against any terrorist cell. His hardline approach is already highlighted when he expresses his desire to sacrifice all the passengers of the hijacked plane. If that is his attitude towards fellow American citizens, one can imagine he had even fewer thoughts about collateral damage on foreign soil.
That is exactly what happened in Alex or Enid Slouris’ homeland. In his quest to stamp out terrorists, Hawkins killed many innocent people in a variety of blasts. Enid’s son is one such collateral damage. Understandably, Enid wanted vengeance. Moreover, he remembered Hawkins’ face. His role as Alex inside the terrorist sleeper cell was a means to avenge his son’s death and kill Hawkins.
Why Did Alex or Enid Slouris Change His Heart?
However, when Kim and the pilot’s young son beat him in the end, Enid changed his heart. Enid understands that he was doing exactly what Hawkins had done to him. He remembered his own son, especially when he looked at the pilot’s young son. Eventually, he could not proceed with his plan and kill Hawkins at the expense of all these lives. That is why Enid while dying, helped Kim land the plane safely. Eventually, his dying actions saved many innocent lives.