The Passenger (1975)

A purgatorial dirge for a character who is not dead, but choses to be regarded as such. The last major Antonioni I had to check off and a remarkably spare contemplation on life’s dead ends. Feels like a desolate funeral march on a dusty landscape. The in-camera flashbacks and prowling extended takes which move impossibly through an environment (that last shot is rightfully in the pantheon of technical wizardry) add panache to an otherwise spartan and quiet mood piece. Nicholson always worked wonders with the auteurs of his day and clearly had upmost respect for their artistry. This is one of Jack’s best performances, arriving slap bang in the middle of his 70s hot streak (he did One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest the same year) but he achieves new heights here by handing himself over to Antonioni’s tempo. Brings new meaning to the title The Passenger.

Watched on Indicator blu-ray.

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