You know that feeling you have when somebody close to you recently passes away but it doesn’t internally seem like they’re really gone yet? That’s The Passenger.
Whether it be from seclusion or identity, our desires to be reborn are assertive. How else can we escape depression other than to change? The movements of our complicated lives seem only curable when refreshed or reinterpreted, and that’s exactly what Jack Nicholson’s David Locke wants: to become new for once. That in of itself, however, only comes with struggle. Through our free-will, becoming contemporary requires us to invent constituents we never considered, never associated with, or never wanted to inherit. In the midst of authoritative societies, we must face challenges to transform, and that often shrugs us straight back to square one in the never-ending cycle of sorrow.
Michelangelo Antonioni’s organization of time in The Passenger feels quite dreamy but, at the same time, genuine in many cases. The film has some of the silkiest fusions of the past being placed into the present, and it all synchronizes as established companions in the story being deduced. I must admit, howbeit, that the unnamed girl character is kind of used as this chintzy plot device that drops out of nowhere. I guess her appearance could just be a “coincidence” as the movie suggests, which is in line with the movie’s themes of destined dejection and repetition.
Looking forward, nevertheless, The Passenger is astounding to behold. The first thirty minutes: a faultless thematic introduction. The concluding shots: oh gosh, jaw-dropping to the highest degree. Its melancholy subject matter: alarmingly authentic. The dialogue: mysterious in the finest ways possible. Its lax execution: indelible like déjà vu. I suppose you could say that I’m exceedingly thrilled to see the rest of Antonioni’s filmography.
The architecture in this movie, though… Exquisite!
“The Passenger” is now available to stream on Vudu and The Criterion Channel.