Friday, October 31, 2008

Was this the Sixth Sense all over again?

After a plane crash, a young therapist, Claire (Anne Hathaway), is assigned by her mentor (Andre Braugher) to counsel the flight's five survivors in Passengers. When they share their recollections of the incident – which some say include an explosion that the airline claims never happened – Claire is intrigued by Eric (Patrick Wilson), the most secretive of the passengers. Just as Claire's professional relationship with Eric – despite her better judgment – blossoms into a romance, the survivors begin to disappear mysteriously, one by one. Claire suspects that Eric may hold all the answers and becomes determined to uncover the truth, no matter the consequences.
As the film opens, we see Eric Clark (Patrick Wilson) trudging dazed along a beach, with a horrendous airplane wreckage all around him. He has evidently done what few people ever have --- walk away from a plane crash. In fact, he has barely a scratch. We later learn that out of 109 passengers, six managed to survive. The section of the fuselage that remained relatively intact after impact contains at least six undamaged seats, as we see from the effective set design by Carol Lavallee, and lends some credence that six people could have actually lived through this nightmare. A while later we are introduced to Dr. Claire Summers (Anne Hathaway), a grief counselor who is prepared to work with the survivors to help them over what surely will remain a traumatic experience. Of course, Eric is immediately smitten with Claire, and while she resists his obvious flirtations, we know the inevitable will happen, albeit their first kiss occurs in a most unlikely place. Their evolving relationship is so gradual we wish they would get on with it, already, and oh yeah ---- where is this story taking us??The rest of the cast features veteran actors David Morse, Andre Braugher and Dianne Wiest, but Wilson and Hathaway dominate most scenes. Once the plot is unraveled, there is one pretty good jolt which comes out of the blue. The premise here is not new, though ---- WARNING: SPOILER ALERT: it is reminiscent of Nicole Kidman's eerie The Others, as well as the Haley Joel Osment/Bruce Willis thriller The Sixth Sense that made M. Night Shyamalan a household name (well, almost). But Passengers isn't quite in that class.You will leave the theater with more questions than answers, which could either promote a lively discussion afterwards or leave you less than satisfied.Passengers is a haunting little movie that builds ever so slowly to an electrifying climax. Some films take their time reaching their destination, and the payoff is disappointing or non-existent. Here, although the plodding story is irritating, at times, you will likely agree that the end justifies the means. Although it tried too hard to be another Sixth Sense, it still held my attention to the very end, but this only get a 3 on my "Go See" scale.

No comments: