DVD REVIEW: The Passenger

Movie •••• Picture/Sound •••• Extras •••
Michelangelo Antonioni took the premise for an intrigue-filled thriller - burned-out journalist (Jack Nicholson) impulsively trades places with a suddenly dead stranger - and turned it into a compelling meditation on the nature of identity and the illusion of freedom. This director-preferred cut, seven minutes longer than the 1975 theatrical release, looks a bit grainy and overly contrasted in some early desert shots. Otherwise, it's beautifully colored, lit, and detailed. Dialogue is clean throughout, but the mono soundtrack is most impressive in long sequences without speech, when carefully balanced effects underscore the "silence." In one commentary, co-screenwriter Mark Peploe spends a lot of time talking about himself (though he does offer a good deal of background info). Then there's Nicholson, who speaks less often in his own track but delivers some neat tidbits about his working relationship with Antonioni. [PG-13] English, Dolby Digital 2-channel mono; letterboxed (1.78:1) and anamorphic widescreen; dual layer.

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