Saturday, November 28, 2009


Passengers is one of the first films that I have watched on my Samsung BDP3600 Wi-Fi Blu-Ray Disc Player using my Netflix instant queue to stream the video live on my television. I added this film to the instant queue from the Netflix website, after reading the synopsis, which appealed to me. The concept seemed intriguing, although an effort at misdirection. It took me about half the film to figure out that I was watching something I have seen before (in other films).

Warning: The following paragraph will analyze the material in this film that has been done before. It will not expose the plot of the film, but will provide enough information to act as a spoiler...

Passengers borrows concepts that were better applied in the films The Others and The Sixth Sense. Obviously, The Sixth Sense set the standard for this type of film and will never be adequately replicated. However, The Others took this genre in a different direction with a phenomenal performance by Nicole Kidman, that elevated that film to a close second. With two excellent movies already available with similar themes, this one trails as a distant third. Passable, but not nearly as good.

Spoiler Alert concluded. You may resume reading here, if you skipped the previous paragraph...

Generally, psychological thrillers necessarily seem subdued with a slower pacing than other films. That is okay if the film is using the lag time for the viewer to cogitate on the information being provided. Also, some films in this genre use the slower pacing to provide visual cues to the audience regarding the plot. Tidbits that can be collected on subsequent viewings. At times, those sluggish plots squander opportunities and simply flail while they try and figure out a direction. That is how I felt about Passengers. I enjoyed the film, but the lag time seemed wasted.

Passengers also seemed to try and go too many different directions. Although everything was tied up in a neat bow at the end, the beginning was awkward enough to create confusion. I know that this misdirection was intentional, but the extent that it was taken seemed excessive. Almost as if Rodrigo Garcia (Director) and Ronnie Christensen (Writer) conspired to create filler to extend the length of the film to its current 93 minute run time...short by most movie standards (although those horrible spoof movies all seem to run 88 minutes). The slack times in this film did not appear to add anything to the movie.

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