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Passengers

Year: 2008
Production Co: Tristar Pictures
Director: Rodrigo Garcia
Writer: Ronnie Christensen
Cast: Anne Hathaway, Patrick Wilson, Dianne Weist, Andre Braugher, David Morse

Somebody bought this inexpensive but fairly slick thriller and dumped it very unceremoniously in theatres where it died a very quiet death, which is a shame. Despite a slightly schmaltzy approach, it's a neat little Hitchcockian love story.

To talk about the climax or resolution is to give the whole thing away in the most spoilerific fashion, but suffice it to say it's a detective story as grief counsellor Claire (a pre-Oscar Hathaway) tries to figure out the strange goings-on around her while she works with a disparate group of people who survived a plane crash.

First it's the no-nonsense official from the airline (Morse), who seems to want to head off whatever Claire discovers about the crash, making it seem like there is actually a conspiracy as the nuttier elements among the survivors claim.

Then it's the well-meaning but slightly nosy older lady (Weist) who lives in Claire's apartment building and seems a little too interested in her life. After an argument with her sister, Claire tries to get in touch a few times and clear the air, but her sister's strangely never home, nor calls her back.

But most of all is her attraction to Eric (Wilson), whose life is transformed into soul-searching hedonism with the second chance he's given after the crash. Things turn dark when the survivors start disappearing one by one and when Claire crosses the line and falls for Eric, even his behaviour turns strange.

The big reveal explains everything in the last minute or so, but unlike other films in this field (you'll know which ones when you see what it all means), it's to pay off the story itself rather than the mood – which hasn't been particularly suspenseful. I think director Garcia wanted it to be more a romance than a thriller, and if you take it in that spirit it's sweet and affecting.

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