Passengers DVD Review

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If you think plane rides are scarier than ever these days, what with terror alerts and the deadly effects of ice and birds in the vicinity, Passengers has something pretty high on the shock meter in store for viewers, that may make you think about taking trains instead.

Directed by Rodrigo Garcia, son of famed Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Passengers postulates an intriguing and also decidedly unnerving notion, however extreme, that corruption in the world can disturb the tranquility and peace of mind of humanity, as well as the restless dead.

Anne Hathaway is Claire in Passengers, a nervous young shrink and driven workaholic, who is assigned the formidable task of conducting group therapy sessions with the surviving victims of a recent plane crash. Among her patients is Eric (Patrick Wilson), an inappropriately cheery corporate executive who decides to leave ambition behind after his near death experience, and live a simple creative life as a painter insetad. He also mocks Claire’s attempts to psychoanalyze him and maintain rigid professional distance, while clearly trying to hit on her and seduce her into surrendering to his playful charms.

At the same time, the survivors start disappearing one by one, or wander around in a dazed state, as officials from the airplane company stalk them all in murky shadows. And who may or may not be trying to cover up engine defects that caused the crash, and that if discovered would put the company out of business.

Passengers combines pungent, eerie atmosphere with its many moments of chilling when not outright bizarre happenings. And Hathaway, along with Wilson, Dianne Wiest as Claire’s far too nosy when not utterly weird neighbor and David Morse as the secretive airline functionary, provide mesmerizing, surreal ensemble chemistry that rarely subsides, serving up a deliriously potent supernatural yarn that should sufficiently frazzle viewer nerves on impact.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Rated PG-13

3 stars

DVD Features: Commentary With Director Rodrigo Garcia And Star Patrick Wilson; Deleted Scenes; Featurettes: The Manifest And Making Of Passengers; Analysis Of The Plane Crash.

Prairie Miller is a New York multimedia journalist online, in print and radio, who reviews movies and conducts in-depth interviews. She can also be heard on WBAI/Pacifica National Radio Network's Arts Express.