Passengers (2016)

This is an absolutely amazing film.

We’re talking about a film which takes us to an incredible place, a luxury spaceship enroute to a distant star, with its crew and passengers in suspended animation.  And “place” is the right word, as we are talking about a film that created this world not in some digitally inserted imaginary space, but in a series of huge practical sets.

Do you have any idea how rare that is these days?

But what is far more daring is that this is essentially a two-player film, where the weight of this extravagant production rests almost entirely on the shoulders of Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence (although Michael Sheen has a show-stealing role as an android bartender, and Laurence Fishburne makes an all-too-brief appearance).  And the bet pays off, as they both perform beautifully in demanding roles.

It is also refreshing to see a film which is essentially a romance (and, I might note, a convincing and complicated one) but set against a detailed science fictional background with an impressive depth of detail and solidity all too rare in the genre.

Science Fiction seems to be in the ascendant in the theaters these days, as we’ve seen a number of high-concept, high budget films like Oblivion and Edge of Tomorrow.  One can only hope that there will be many more to come – and that at least a few of them will be as good as Passengers.


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