Projections - Movie Reviews

The Passenger

The Passenger
Jack Nicholson and Maria Schneider

Rated: PG
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: October 28, 2005 Released by: Sony Pictures Classics

Themes of identity and disillusionment are sharply created in Michelangelo Antonioni's 1975 film The Passenger starring Jack Nicholson.

There is a stark, languishing quality that could detach some viewers who may feel it dated, but there's something penetrating as Nicholson's TV reporter/documentarian Locke becoming an Englishman/colleague named Robertson who dies in the same hotel room. The life of the deceased man will have Locke going into safe-deposit boxes as the impersonator gets involved in global arms dealing.

This English-language feature shot in Africa, Spain, and England with a very dusty feel is a triumph in world cinema and a chance to see a very laconic Jack shine. The plot touches into the surreal and places much weight on the fragility of humanity. Strong support comes Maria Schneider of The Last Tango in Paris as a woman who helps Locke on his new endeavor and acts as his conscience. Locke's philandering wife will be on his trail and things become tenuous and perilous while on the road.

Antonioni uses all of his visual capabilities to make the despair and emptiness come alive in such an unhurried manner, building to a lengthy, revelatory zoom shot around a hotel for full ironic effect. For those into cinema for all of its elusive, artistic potential, Nicholson and his esteemed Italian director make the re-release of The Passenger one to cherish.

  Frank Chris Tony Jim Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
The Passenger       B+       B+

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