The Passenger

1975

Drama / Thriller

79
IMDb Rating 7.6 10 18,683

Synopsis


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English
PG-13
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126 min
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English
PG-13
23.976 fps
126 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by michelerealini 10 / 10 / 10

One of the best Antonioni films

Michelangelo Antonioni's films are very static, with a few dialogues. They describe boredom of bourgeois class, they're cold. Sometimes they're unbearable: either you like them or you don't. "Professione: reporter", to me, belongs to the most interesting period of Antonioni's career (between the second half of the Sixties and the first of the Seventies). Because in these years the Italian director made his most accessible works: "Blow Up" (1966), "Zabryskie point" (1969) and "Professione: reporter" ("The Passenger", 1974). These films contain more action and more situations. They are neither more commercial nor more mainstream, but they talk about an adventure or a dream. A journalist in North Africa switches the identity with a dead man who looks like him. He does this to escape from his life and for living a more interesting one. But he'll pay for his choice... It's difficult to say, but this Antonioni movie (with his recurrent themes and -in a smaller way- times) has a lot of suspense, if I can say so. Once you begin to watch it, you can't give up. The funny thing is that nothing really big or special happens: sometimes it seems a road movie, sometimes it is a typical Antonioni analysis of the society. Jack Nicholson -how young he was at that time!- fills the film, his performance and his expressions are brilliant. It's also interesting the chemistry with Maria Schneider, the lady of "The last tango in Paris" -an actress who never got the fame and the recognition she deserved. Cinematography is fantastic. But, above all, the big surprise of the film is the final shot: a 7-8 minutes take without cuts, absolute amazing. It's not describable, it's a must!

Reviewed by mercuryadonis 9 / 10 / 10

Famous concluding shot worth the wait.

Slow but well worth the time it takes to arrive at the shattering conclusion. Watch it more than once as there are many small visual cues and tips that add both to the plot and theme. Jack Nicholson is superb - and surprisingly low-key - as the jaded and detached reporter who switches identity with a dead man out of boredom more than anything else. Maria Schneider is fine in a somewhat underwritten role. The real stars however are Antonioni's restlessly roving camera and the sublime locations which include the Sahara desert, a cable-car, and that bewitching Gaudi rooftop in Barcelona.

Reviewed by Chris Knipp 9 / 10 / 10

Re-release of a classic

Michelangelo Antonioni: The Passenger (Italy/France 1975). 128 minutes. Release by Sony Classics Pictures release. Release date: October 28, 2005. Shown at the New York Film Festival: October 8, 2005. Thirty years later, Michelangelo Antonioni's re-released "The Passenger" is looking very good, and so are Jack Nicholson and Maria Schneider, as the journalist who takes a dead man's identity in the Sahara and the girl he meets in Barcelona who decides to tag along. David Locke (Nicholson) takes the passport of a man named Robertson who he's had a few drinks with in a hotel. Before that we see Locke experience frustration, giving away cigarettes to men in turbans who say nothing, abandoned by a boy guide, dumping a Land Rover stuck in the sand. Later we see films that show as a journalist he was subservient to bad men. Locke has Robertson's appointment book which leads him to Munich, then various points in Spain. He learns Robertson was a committed man taking risks: he sold arms to revolutionaries whose causes he thought were just. He gets a huge down-payment. Then Locke's wife gets a tape of him talking to Robertson and his passport with Robertson's photo pasted into it -- and she gets the picture. Changing your identity and using someone else's isn't just an existential act, it's also a criminal one. Locke's gambit is hopeless: he winds up fleeing from himself. The film skillfully gives its action story an existential underpinning. The chase keeps up a rapid pace, like the Bourne franchise, but it has time to contemplate Locke's old and new lives in a metaphorical story he tells Schneider about a blind man that explains how he ends up. Antonioni is great at little incidentals -- a girl chewing bubblegum, a man reciting in a Gaudi building. And at the end, people coming and going in a desolate plaza outside a bullfighting amphitheater. The locations provide exotic glamor. The camera-work of course is wonderful. In retrospect now one can see this was definitely a culmination for Antonioni. He thought it technically his best film. This is the director's preferred European version, originally released as "Professione: Reporter."

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