Written by / 5/19/2023 / No comments / , , , , , , , , , , , ,

JACK NICHOLSON DRIVES 'THE PASSENGER' WITH IAN HENDRY

Jack Nicholson in Michelangelo Antonioni's THE PASSENGER Year: 1975 Rating: ***1/2

For a legendary arthouse director inclined to create more character than plot-driven films, BLOW-UP auteur Michelangelo Antonioni's THE PASSENGER is almost entirely plot — heavily built into the main character... 

After Jack Nicholson — as a reporter originally named Locke — takes the identity of a dead arms-dealing doppelganger, he goes from scorched Algerian desert terrain into various European locations tailed by shady businessmen, separated-wife Jenny Runacre and BBC producer-boss Ian Hendry... all clinging to the secret-identity device that, while panning-out in a slow-burn, ambiguous manner, is more primary than parenthetical...

Jack Nicholson in THE PASSENGER

All from that bizarre, totally random choice to leave his past behind, which is never explained or clear, especially since — sporadically revealed through past interview footage from Ian Hendry's studio — this reporter's professional life doesn't seem that bad or worth escaping from: it's only one desert-stranded tantrum over a broken-down vehicle where any anger's revealed, albeit a more physical than existential crisis...

After which, Nicholson's Locke is far from lonely, joined with French ingenue Maria Schneider as the monotone Girl, whose artistic beauty's more a representational theme of youthful naiveté... together touring and philosophizing around Gaudí structured buildings, rural countrysides and highways, cafes, taverns, hotels, motels— so that Antonioni can visually glide his otherwise "filling space" performers throughout a lavish travelogue masquerading as a sparse thriller, yet without very much urgency or suspense...

Jack Nicholson in THE PASSENGER

Ending with what THE PASSENGER is mostly known for: an eight-minute one-take shot as Jack — more mellow and dissociated than the famously cocky firebrand's ever been (before or after) — naps in a rural motel... 

Ironic since he seems inactive even while traipsing throughout a picture deliberately choosing style over substance, punctuating the title's meaning: a usually extremely driven actor passively along for the director's ride.

Maria Schneider in THE PASSENGER with Jack Nicholson
Jack Nicholson in THE PASSENGER
Maria Schneider in THE PASSENGER
Jack Nicholson in THE PASSENGER
Jack Nicholson in THE PASSENGER
Jack Lookalike Charles Mulvehill in THE PASSENGER
Jack Nicholson in THE PASSENGER
Maria Schneider and JACK NICHOLSON in THE PASSENGER
Jack Nicholson in THE PASSENGER
Jack Nicholson in THE PASSENGER
Jack Nicholson in THE PASSENGER
Jack Nicholson in THE PASSENGER
Ian Hendry in THE PASSENGER with Jenny Runacre
Ian Hendry in THE PASSENGER with Jenny Runacre
Ian Hendry in THE PASSENGER
Jack Nicholson in THE PASSENGER
Jack Nicholson in THE PASSENGER
Maria Schneider in THE PASSENGER
Jack Nicholson in THE PASSENGER
Jack Nicholson in THE PASSENGER
Maria Schneider and Ian  Hendry in THE PASSENGER
Maria Schneider and Ian  Hendry in THE PASSENGER
Maria Schneider and Ian  Hendry in THE PASSENGER
Locations from THE PASSENGER
Locations from THE PASSENGER
Looalikes Charles Mulvehill (The Last Detail producer) and Jack Nicholson in THE PASSENGER
Jack Nicholson in THE PASSENGER
 Gaudí building in THE PASSENGER
 Gaudí building in THE PASSENGER
Jack Nicholson in THE PASSENGER
Jack Nicholson in THE PASSENGER
Greenhouse from THE PASSENGER
Wife's lover Steven Berkoff in THE PASSENGER
Ian Hendry in THE PASSENGER
Ian Hendry in THE PASSENGER
Jack Nicholson in THE PASSENGER
Jack Nicholson in THE PASSENGER
Jack Nicholson in THE PASSENGER
Looalikes Charles Mulvehill and Jack Nicholson in THE PASSENGER
Jack Nicholson in THE PASSENGER
Jack Nicholson in THE PASSENGER
Jack Nicholson in THE PASSENGER
Looalikes Charles Mulvehill and Jack Nicholson in THE PASSENGER
Ian Hendry in THE PASSENGER
Pinball from THE PASSENGER
Maria Schneider in THE PASSENGER
Jack Nicholson in THE PASSENGER
Jack Nicholson in THE PASSENGER
Jack Nicholson in THE PASSENGER
Maria Schneider in THE PASSENGER with Jack Nicholson
Maria Schneider in THE PASSENGER with Jack Nicholson
Jack Nicholson in THE PASSENGER
Maria Schneider in THE PASSENGER
Maria Schneider in THE PASSENGER
Famous finale for THE PASSENGER
Local Girl from THE PASSENGER
Jack Nicholson in THE PASSENGER
Maria Schneider and JACK NICHOLSON in THE PASSENGER
Maria Schneider and JACK NICHOLSON in THE PASSENGER
From THE PASSENGER
Jack Nicholson from THE PASSENGER
Jack Nicholson from THE PASSENGER
Credits for THE PASSENGER
Credits for THE PASSENGER
Credits for THE PASSENGER
Ian Hendry from THE PASSENGER
Jenny Runacre from THE PASSENGER
Jack Nicholson in THE PASSENGER
Jack Nicholson in THE PASSENGER
Jenny Runacre in THE PASSENGER

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