The Passenger (1975)
A story about misplaced logic
27 September 2020
This is a very good offering from Antonioni.

As ever well observed and thoughtfully photographed, The Passenger (Professione; Reporter) also features a laconic and excellent performance by Nicholson, ably supported by Maria Schneider.

The settings are a well integrated part of the story which ranges across North Africa, London, Barcelona and Munich.

There is intrigue throughout and we are caught up in the thinking of David Locke (Nicholson). We sort of understand why he has made the profound choice he makes near the beginning. But he has not thought through the consequences of what he has done - and as these consequences unfold we the viewer see that these are severe. There are plenty of indicators that should have alerted him that he is playing a dangerous game - but he ignores and circumvents them. We can see that this is madness - but Locke just presses on.

The girl (Schneider) is a counter-weight to Lockes' behaviours. It's as if she represents the new life Locke wants. But because Locke is STILL the person he was before - he can't make the switch, can't accept the cues. The girl is Lockes' misplaced logic.

The final scenes include a remarkable and beautiful panning and tracking shot many minutes long - all before Steadycam was invented. This shot is a metaphor for what has taken place during the film; moving through prison-like bars out into free space. I will say no more - as that would be a spoiler!

As the flim fades to grey we are left to reflect that we would not make the choices Locke has made.

Overall, Antonioni has crafted a minor classic.
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