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The Passenger (PG-13)

Release Date: April 9th, 1975.
Re-release Date: October 28th, 2005 (NYC- Lincoln Plaza Cinemas and Landmark Cinemas) by Sony Picture Classics.
The Cast: Jack Nicholson, Maria Schneider, Jenny Runacre, Ian Hendry, Steven Berkoff, Ambroise Bia.
Directed by Michelangelo Antionini.

BASIC PREMISE: David (Nicholson), a reporter on an assignment in Africa, switches identities with a dead man and befriends a young woman (Schneider).

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Jack Nicholsonís laid-back performance as David will startle many viewers unfamiliar with his early work as an actor. When David changes identities with the dead man in a motel, the plot becomes mysterious and suspenseful. At that point, in order to find out who is trying to kill him, he must figure out who the dead man is really supposed to be. He reads the dead manís pocket calendar, which contains the names of people he has to meet with along with the time. The girl he meets during one of the meetings looks very beautiful and, when she joins him for the rest of the movie, their relationship becomes interesting, but never ends up truly romantic. Davidís wife suspects that her husband is still alive, so she travels to Africa convinced that she will find him. The slow pace along with the scenes without dialogue seems slightly awkward, irritating, and often makes the film. In a well-shot cinematic moment, the camera gradually zooms in on a scene that takes place behind bars of a window. If only there was more information about Davidís past, the Third Act would have worked much better. Nonetheless, itís refreshing to watch Jack Nicholson playing a complex, mysterious role that doesnít make him likeable for a change.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: As David digs deeper into the dead manís mysterious past, itís thought-provoking and intriguing to try to piece the entire puzzle together. However, Davidís mid-life crisis doesnít become particularly moving or heartbreaking.

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Minimal character development.


THE BOTTOM LINE: Beautiful cinematography, plenty of mystery and intrigue, but the slow pace often makes the film drag.

RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: True Fans of Jack Nicholson- Movie Theater (1st Run) Everyone else- Movie Theater (2nd Run)

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