After pulling the nations heartstrings in The Imitation Game (2014) and providing stunning visual eye in Headhunters (2011) it is only fitting that director Morten Tyldum merge the two together and create a heartfelt, but thrilling romance with his new film Passengers (2016).
Critics have been hailing the film ‘The Titanic of space movies’, ‘Titanic set in space’ and ‘Titanic amongst the stars’. Their not lying, the films parallels with Titanic (1997) are too hard to dismiss. The film is essentially a love story between Aurora (Jennifer Lawrence) and Jim (Chris Pratt), it may be set in space, but the couple are still not immune to betrayal and ultimately find themselves trying to survive on a sinking ship. There are elements of social class more humorously added to the film that mirror Titanic, Jim, an engineer is given the lower level bunker to live and his wrist band provided for each level member denies him the more luxurious food that upper level member, Aurora is able to access, but the duo fall for each other anyway, sound familiar?
As well as having its romantic qualities, Tyldum also gives great concentration on the ethical values people can be faced with in difficult situations. In Passengers he takes it to the extreme with incredible success. Audiences are used to seeing greed on screen in a more obvious way, but Tyldum provides a darker, more truthful expression of what we desire or need as a human being to survive, he approaches greed in a very different and terrifying way, but also in a very understandable way and leaves the audiences wondering what they would do if they were put in the same position as Jim.
Tyldum also pays homage to Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (1980). The bar set up in Passengers mirrors the set up of the bar in The Shining. Tyldum adopts Kubrick’s talent of making his locations and sets become a character within the film, like ‘The Stanley Hotel’, the ship is as much a character of the film as Aurora and Jim. He almost identically matches the bar with Kubrick’s. The carpets, Michael Sheen’s jacket, event the shape of the bar all are parallel with the The Shinning and furthermore the audiences first meeting of Arthur (Michael Sheen) leads them to believe he is human, just like with the bar tender in The Shining.
The overall look of the film is impressive to say the least, thanks to Tyldum, though were it not for Lawrence and Pratt’s incredible likeability this film could of become something entirely different.