Passengers DVD review

Passengers is not the kind of film to watch on a flight. It's bad enough watching it in your lounge...


There are a few movies you would not like to see as in-flight options as you are cruising at 30,000 ft on your way to your summer holiday. Passengers would be right up at the top of that list.

After a horrific plane crash leaves only five survivors, psychotherapist Claire Summers (Anne Hathaway) is called by her mentor Perry (Andre Braugher) to treat them. All the passengers are willing to attend Claire’s sessions bar one, Eric (Watchmen‘s Patrick Wilson), who sees surviving the crash as a new beginning and begins to make major life-changing decisions based on this (which accounts for the only echoes of Peter Weir’s sorely underrated Fearless that you’ll find here).

As members of her group start to remember an explosion on the plane, rather than just pilot error, they slowly start to disappear, prompting Claire to investigate just how far the airline involved would go to keep with their story. While searching for the truth, Claire crosses the patient/doctor line when she starts a romantic relationship with Eric, who, unbeknownst to her, is suffering far more from severe post traumatic stress than he is letting on.

Running along with the main plot is Claire’s personal story of trying to reunite with her sister which leads the audience to the ever-popular twist ending. It comes to something when the mere presence of a twist is predictable.

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After watching Passengers I have to admit the first thing that came into my head was why such a slew of acting talent decided to sign up for this tediously slow supernatural drama. Hathaway and Wilson make an admirable effort to keep their characters interesting and watchable, but they cannot hide the fact that the script is a half-baked affair with no real story progression at all for the first hour. Also, the 20 minute ending ends up feeling much like the finish line of a marathon, although much less satisfying. Even an appearance by the wonderful Dianne Wiest as Claire’s kooky neighbour Toni fails to lighten the screen and you are slightly left thinking if they were actually just in it for the paycheque.

The plane crash fares much worse than the actual story, with the aftermath looking like it was literally just lifted out of the pilot episode of Lost, but set at night instead. And the actual witnessing of the crash was almost laughable, with the entire side of the plane being ripped out yet still allowing two of the characters to carry on talking to each other almost as if nothing had happened. I’m not an expert in this field but I would have thought if there is enough pressure to rip the side of a plane off, a fair amount of passengers would have been sucked out too, especially those sitting directly next to the gaping hole.

Having enjoyed director Rodrigo García’s television work, most notably In Treatment and Six Feet Under, I have to admit I am more than disappointed with this film and ultimately this is a supernatural drama that just cannot get past take off.

Extras A making of documentary is included which gives the viewer a character by character guide of the movie and actually is far more entertaining than the feature presentation. It helps that it wraps things up much faster. Analysis Of A Plane Crash looks at the special effects used to create the, no surprises here, crash itself. There are also some deleted scenes which add nothing to the already slow moving plot of this movie, as well as an audio commentary from the director, Rodrigo García, and star, Patrick Wilson. Nothing in there that’s essential viewing, by any measure, though.


1 stars
2 stars

Passengers is available now.

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1 out of 5