To reveal which film Passengers conspicuously resembles would be to spoil its central surprise. And since that would, in effect, ruin Nine Lives director Rodrigo García’s latest, which is solely predicated on its twist ending, it’s best to simply avoid direct comparisons and concentrate on the story itself, which involves a therapist’s efforts to help a group of plane crash survivors cope with their near-death experience. Claire (Ann Hathaway) is tasked to counsel the traumatized passengers of a flight that disastrously crashed on a beach in a nowhere city characterized by overcast skies and populated, sparsely, by the strangely somnambulant. Most of her patients are remote and/or angry, except for Eric (Patrick Wilson), who doesn’t want an analyst’s help but does want to get closer to Claire. Against her better professional judgment, Claire begins falling for Eric, in part because he seems to know her so well, “guessing” that she has a sister and aware of how she likes her coffee. Like everyone’s interactions, their rapport is slightly off, and as puzzling, potentially supernatural phenomena begin to pile up, Claire soon begins to suspect that something’s amiss, and starts investigating—to an airline official’s (David Morse) chagrin—a patient’s belief that the crash wasn’t caused by the pilot but by a covered-up explosion. García’s monotonously deliberate, portentous direction, as well as his narrative’s stagnant pace and inclusion of various characters whose roles and identities are kept goofily oblique (paging Diane Wiest!), serve as leaden clues to the central mystery, which is so derivative and clearly suggested from the outset that one’s only interest in the proceedings relates to whether or not the film is as unimaginative as it would seem. It is, right down to the perfunctory performances from Hathaway and Wilson, two actors far more versatile and engaging than this tenaciously torpid, decidedly uneventful, shamelessly plagiaristic variation on—yes, I’m going to ruin it—The Sixth Sense.
- Rodrigo García
- Ronnie Christensen
- Anne Hathaway, Patrick Wilson, Andre Braugher, Dianne Wiest, David Morse
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