Professione: reporter (The Passenger)


Professione: reporter (The Passenger)

Critics Consensus

Antonioni's classic, a tale of lonely, estranged characters on a journey though the mysterious landscapes of identity, shimmers with beauty and uncertainty.



Total Count: 69


Audience Score

User Ratings: 8,791
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Movie Info

The mutual admiration between actor Jack Nicholson and director Michelangelo Antonioni resulted in the psychological drama The Passenger. Nicholson plays David Locke, a disillusioned American reporter who is sent on a grueling mission to North Africa. When he stumbles across the body of a dead man, Locke, long desirous of starting life over again, assumes the corpse's identity. He soon discovers that the man he's pretending to be is involved in gun running on behalf of a terrorist group. Making the acquaintance of a mysterious woman (Maria Schneider), he finds a kindred spirit -- a woman as "lost" as he. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for Professione: reporter (The Passenger)

All Critics (69) | Top Critics (20)

  • Earlier Antonioni films have often seemed studied, but not this one. Its details are easy and apropos.

    Jan 14, 2013 | Full Review…
  • What in different hands would have been a bombastic psychological thriller becomes a stark study of existential alienation.

    Aug 12, 2006 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…
  • A classic of a difficult and alienating kind, but one that really does shimmer in the mind like a remembered dream.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Thanks to Luciano Tovoli's magnificent cinematography of the African desert and the arid Spanish countryside, we gain a potent sense of Locke's internal emptiness.

    May 30, 2006 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

    Tom Dawson
    Top Critic
  • The best of Antonioni's three English-language pictures.

    Feb 9, 2006 | Full Review…

    Dave Calhoun

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • The Passenger is a marvel of quiet insight in many ways, not least of which is the chance to view Jack Nicholson before he became JACK NICHOLSON.

    Jan 13, 2006 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Professione: reporter (The Passenger)

  • Oct 08, 2015
    The Passenger is an alright film. The story and acting by Nicholson hold interest throughout. The main character is someone who does not want to be who he is, someone who does not want to associate. This isn't portrayed with a lot of anguish. Rather, it is played very low-key and holds a universal resonance. The audience can identify with this character, played by an actor with natural charisma, who simply wants to get away from life. The film wants to say some things and to be taken seriously, but the mixture of detached style, low production values, mediocre film-making (with an odd nice shot here or there), and the overall aged quality all make for a non-involved experience. The film does not motivate the viewer to understand beyond simple observation.
    Robert B Super Reviewer
  • Oct 20, 2012
    Rating: 2 stars Art House Rating: 3 stars Perhaps the slowest film I've ever seen "The passenger", the plot was extremely intriguing, but told in a bland way. So bland that I could care less how this all turned out. The scenery was brilliantly memorizing and one of the few eye candies of this film. Nicholson put up an excellent performance, which has always been consistent too him. I might've enjoyed this more of I was watching in an observatory mood. I still respect this, but it feels like a truly "film scholar" type of film. Stunning when you analyze it frame by frame, boring when you sit back and watch.
    Daniel D Super Reviewer
  • Jan 16, 2012
    Burned-out international journalist David Locke (Jack Nicholson, in the same year he won an Oscar for "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest") switches places with dead man David Robertson, who turns out to be an outlaw gun-runner. Locke's wife (Jenny Runacre) and producer (Ian Hendry) pursue Robertson for answers about Locke's death, not realizing they're looking for Locke himself, while Locke picks up Maria Schneider as a traveling companion. (How did this vacant, mumbling actress land choice roles opposite both Nicholson and Marlon Brando?) Meanwhile, Locke invites danger by taking money for Robertson's pending arms deal. This is easily enough story to satisfy a director like Michelangelo Antonioni. Locke's life on the run allows Antonioni to shoot a breathtaking collection of arid landscapes and picturesque, white-stucco settlements and, sorry to say, the locations soon become more interesting than the plot. Of course, Antonioni's ace in the hole is the famous, enigmatic long take that climaxes the film. It's still a miracle.
    Eric B Super Reviewer
  • Nov 02, 2011
    The Passenger is a superbly executed piece of nihilism, featuring a pre-Bucket List pre-wacky Jack Nicholson. His uninhibited, organic and quietly angry performance reminds us why he was the poster child of the 70's anti-hero movement that changed movies forever, before they changed back. He is able to make his highly implausible character switch with the dead gun runner completely relatable. His co-star Maria Schneider's spontaneity and honesty still rings resoundingly true more than thirty years later. This film has all the trappings of a mystery thriller on paper, but if you are not familiar with the Antonioni output, and require resolution and closure in your films, this film will disappoint and let you down at every turn. Instead, let it wash over you and start to get comfortable with ambiguity and randomness, as we all need to do in our lives. Ambiguity and randomness are Antonioni's big theme, running through all his films. The Passenger's selling points are the rich Spanish and African locations, shot in an objective and unromantic style, and the true and honest acting of its two leads. It's very long, but that's part of its beauty. The supporting plot points, including that of the quest of Nicholson's boss and wife to find him, do not add much to the film, especially when you realize how irrelevant they are to the final impact of the film. They seem to be Antonioni's device to suck us into getting caught up in a chase film, only to have our finely honed film going expectations utterly shattered on those craggy Spanish rocks. The long seven minute single shot that nearly ends the film (there's a quick shot afterwards) is quietly tragic and will haunt most viewers for all of their film going days. I re-screened the film after 20 years and it has never left me.
    Josh M Super Reviewer

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