Passengers, directed by Morten Tyldum and starring Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, tells the story of a colonisation mission aboard the spaceship ‘Avalon’ to a distant galaxy called ‘Homestead II’, which suffers severe damage and malfunctions causing a stasis pod, holding one of the 5000 passengers onboard, to bring its occupant back to life 90 years ahead of time.
The passenger, Jim (Chris Pratt), an engineer, comes to realise quickly that not only is he completely alone but having been brought out of stasis so prematurely, and unable to re-enter, he won’t see the destination in his lifetime. After multiple failed attempts to contact the sleeping crew, and relay a message back to Earth, he finally accepts his fate and starts to enjoy the best of the unique 5-star, hotel-like Avalon can offer (the best of fine dining, swimming pools with universal views, and even a literal space-walk! I know, sounds like heaven). But how much luxury can one man take before the solitude takes over?
With only Arthur the android bartender (Michael Sheen, the perfect choice for the films comedic, yet eerily unsettling voice of reason) to keep him company, the depression and desperation of loneliness takes over and he’s faced with a serious moral dilemma.
Passengers explores multiple themes throughout, including loneliness, isolation, morality, desperation and love. By the time Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence) arrives onscreen we’ve already gone through the whole vicissitude of emotions, with the strongest yet to come. As the two accept their fate together they develop a love reminiscent of an Adam and Eve story; the garden is all theirs but they can’t step outside the garden. However their love, and development in the face of their situation are tested as not only that, but the ship itself begins to break down around them.
Stellar (no pun intended) casting and an excellent script are only two parts of what makes this an incredible and thought-provoking movie. It’s sweet and funny, while every now and then making you feel a little uneasy through Arthur’s genteel yet Shining-esque performance. I spent half the film wondering if he were a serial killer while still laughing at his deadpan delivery. Add a couple of suicidal robots, a food-vomiting vending machine, and the crappest swim in zero-g you’ll ever take, all aboard the sterile environment of a spaceship in the vacuum of space and everything you’ve ever wanted from an intense sci-fi romantic thriller is present. Pratt and Lawrence are both in their zone of light hearted humour while still keeping the serious undertone of the situation present.
Passengers is a brilliant offering to the sci-fi genre whose use of inventive technology easily stacks up to any Star Trek film.
I give this film 4.5/5 stars