Monday, 30 January 2017

Passengers Should Have Been Brave Enough To Explore Its Dark Premise

Imagine the scenario: your high-tech hibernation pod on the spaceship you're travelling in to colonize a far flung planet has popped open 90 years too early because of a technical malfunction. Faced with the knowledge that you will be long dead when everyone else wakes up, what do you do? According to Passengers, the answer is "doom a beautiful woman to the same fate and lie about the fact that said fate was in fact your choice. Fall in love with her then stalk her across the ship when she discovers the truth and wants nothing to do with you."

In another world, this would be the perfect setup for an exciting thriller with feminist undertones about men's entitlement to women's bodies. But if you can believe it, Passengers is meant to be a story of true love, forged in the fires of intergalactic peril.

No, I'm not kidding.

Other critics have noted the sinister undercurrent of the film's very premise, but the problem with Passengers is that it tried to have its cake and eat it too. Either you're making a film about unconscionable behavior in the vast emptiness of space, or you're making a romance drama about two people effectively lost to time who find love. It takes a level of skill that this film lacks to blend the two successfully.