Anne Hathaway stars in no less than three films being released this month alone in Singapore. There's Rachel Getting Married, the upcoming Bride Wars, and Passengers. Amongst the three, and I'm counting my chickens before they hatch, Rachel Getting Married is a must watch to see how Hathaway has nailed it as a credible actress, while Bride Wars from the trailer does suggest she has some comedic flair, and this one, well, is one of those attempts at her trying to diversify.
She did credible, but still couldn't shun away from being a pretty vase in her Claire Summers role. But she uses it to her advantage here, as her struggling grief councillor character uses her charm to disarm, and is getting used to all the unwanted male attention courtesy of patient Eric (Patrick Wilson), who is one amongst the group of an airplane crash survivors that she's tasked to work with. Two separate threads develop here, one on the romantic front with a clash of morals given a conflict of interest with a patient, and the other some creepy mystery with regards to the shrinking size of her group therapy class.
The former thread is easy to follow, since it's all about Eric and Claire playing games with each other, with every approach met with icy cold defense, until of course persistence finally paying off. Don't expect any sparks to fly as both Hathaway and Wilson felt as if they're going through the motions with their characters. The latter thread is where the fun should be, with its brewing conspiracy theory with the airline's involvement to something sinister, given contradictory reports with the survivors' experience, as well as shadowy figures following everyone's movement.
However, Ronnie Christensen's sleight of hand technique can be detected and seen a mile away. In its buildup, suspense wasn't considered, and it plodded on with issues and unfinished business being piled one on top of another, though credit must be given to David Morse in his creepy rendition as an airlines representative, as do Andre Braugher and Dianne Wiest. By the time the movie rolls around its half way mark, those alert can already know what the big revelation will be. Which is nothing groundbreaking already since a number of films already use similar plot devices and revelation that it's no longer surprising, but the norm. I only felt that the revelation could have been less clumsy and made clearer, given the many bewildered responses heard all around the cinema hall.
Passengers is one of those films that you don't expect to see on a plane's inflight entertainment system, together with the likes of Flightplan and the first Final Destination. It does boast a spectacular plane in distress scene, though it dangled that prospect for the longest time before delivering its effects laden payload to the audience.