Anne Hathaway has the biggest damn chestnut eyes you’ve ever seen—I spent a lot of time swimming in them, as they’re about the only thing Passengers has going for it. As a young, beautifully coiffured psychiatrist, Hathaway is assigned to depressurize the lone survivors of a commercial airline crash, and finds herself lavishing special after-hours attention on one unusually elated patient (Patrick Wilson, considerably overestimating the charm of squinty smugness). As her patients begin to mysteriously disappear, the movie shifts into “What really happened on that plane?” mode, with chills provided by the dreaded David Morse peeking around corners. Though deceptively marketed as a just-in-time-for-All-Hallow’s-Eve spooktacular, this is really a character-centered romance that non-starts on the total lack of traction between Hathaway and Wilson. The biggest shock (aside from seeing how arbitrarily movies are chosen for theatrical release) is provided by an intrusively blown newspaper. The horribly drawn-out unwinding of an Astonishing Twist Ending retrospectively absolves the film of responsibility for ridiculous scene-stagings and narrative gaffes, and confirms Passengers as a kind of declawed, inside-out Final Destination—with none of the sense of showmanship, and all the looming malice of a mawkish condolence card.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 29, 2008