Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

With the exception of the few most fervent Anne Hathaway haters out there I’m sure most of us can easily agree the Ms. Hathaway is a completely lovely woman, is on the brink of A-list stardom if she’s not there already and will probably be around doing the damn thing for a very long time. Congratulations Anne. That being said, fifty years from now when she gets honored at the Kennedy Center to snatch up one of those lifetime achievement awards I’m thinking they won’t be showing clips from this movie ‘Passengers’.

An airplane heading from point A to point B has a little difficulty and crashes leaving five, maybe six survivors. To help these survivors one Dr. Perry (Andre Braugher) has dispatched his young protégé Dr. Claire Summers to act as primary grief counselor for these survivors because up to this point all Claire has been is a professional student. The most interesting of the survivors that Claire has encountered is Eric (Patrick Wilson) who seems to be experiencing a sense of euphoria about surviving the crash and has decided to take his second chance on life to live this life to the fullest. This would include trying to get next to his nervous, enclosed, skittish but still very attractive grief counselor.

It doesn’t take long for things to start getting weird for all involved. Eric for instance, despite his solid front, has nightmares about the crash and is constantly harassed by a barking dog for whatever reason. And Eric seems to have some kind special ESP into Claire’s personal life. In Claire’s support group for the survivors of the plane, one by one they seem to be disappearing with the reasons for this disappearances seemingly pointing to a Mr. Arkin (David Morse) who is a bureaucrat for the airline and looks to be in full cover up mode. Part of their disappearance could be due to Dr. Summers being possibly the worst grief counselor ever. Claire also has an extremely nosy neighbor (Diane Wiest) who seems to revel in getting deep into Claire’s business and she is also dealing with tracking down her estranged sister who refuses to return her calls.

Eventually the confusion, tension, and conspiracy theories mount to the breaking point for all involved, which will lead us to the truth of what’s really went on in the crash of flight 864. I just made that flight number up by the way.

When you read the synopsis or the summary for ‘Passengers’ it sound really, really good. A deep, serious, tightly wound psychological thriller. Hardly. Director Rodrigo Garcia guides his film as he’s on valium, and while we don’t mind a movie taking its sweet time to get to where it needs to be, we do hope that the wait was worth getting there. It wasn’t. Not even a little bit. As the film sets itself up with its rather methodical pace, the ticking clock in our head is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore, especially since it seems as if nothing of note is happening in front of us. Perhaps it’s all subtext and innuendo? Oh, I don’t think so.

Then the movie comes to a point where it’s becomes blatantly clear to us that something is going on beyond than what we’re being letting on to. This would great if in between the unavoidable big reveal that there was some tension or some excitement or some interest which would move us to care about what is about to happen. The sappy piano score that plays throughout virtually every single frame of the movie, or at least it felt that way to me, drained what little tension the movie might’ve mustered up since it seemed a better fit for a melodramatic love story as opposed to this alleged thriller.

Finally we get to the big thing. What a relief. Not because this big thing was so great because we knew that this movie, that in reality wasn’t all that long, was coming to close. And EVEN STILL it managed to drag out another ten minutes. Even if one, for some reason, is sitting on the edge of their couch waiting for the big thing, ultimately it’s just head scratching silly. This is it? I gotta hand it to the filmmakers in that I didn’t guess what the big thing was but then I also didn’t care what it was because I had long lost interest in this movie by this point.

The film had a great look to it and a solid cast of actors in Braugher, Weist, Morse and Clea Duvall to support Anne Hathaway’s and Patrick Wilson’s beauty but it was all a disappointing waste on a movie that, at least on paper, seems like it should have been way better than its final product.

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