Passengers (2008)
House Church Central Goes to the Movies

TriStar Pictures film directed by Rodrigo Garcia, screenplay by Ronnie Christensen

This concerns the 2008 "Passengers" movie -- not the 2016 movie that is set on an elegant space ship and has 5000 hibernating passengers on their way on a century-long journey to a new planet. The passengers in this 2008 "romantic mystery thriller" are on a Boeing 737 that catches fire in mid-air and crashes at the very start of the film.

It is impossible to talk about this movie without a spoiler alert, so if you want to see this film, please do so before reading further.

Immediately after we see the burning plane on a Vancouver beach, we see a few passengers with various physical signs of their horrible descent walking around.

Over the next hour we watch them interacting with each other as if trying to solve a mystery about the cause of the crash, headed by the Anne Hathaway character who was hired as a therapist to help the survivors over their trauma. But the story begins jarring the viewers with odd behaviors and internal inconsistencies that continue up until the final scenes, it being up to us to try to figure out what is really going on. Some viewers will "get it" earlier than others, but at the end the plot twists and we learn that all of the passengers on the flight, including these passengers and their would-be therapist, died in the crash and that these passengers (and a few non-passengers -- a dog and a grandfather) are living in "limbo." I did not hear that word in the dialog, but it was used liberally in the director and cast interview on the DVD version of the film.

Once that is understood, this is a movie that is exactly like the old "Ghost" movie reviewed on this site, except that we don't know that the protagonists are ghosts until the end of the movie. But ghosts they are, and the action of the movie, we are told, is all intended to help these poor dead folks "find their way" to an unspecified afterlife.

What kind of theology is this? Certainly not Christian theology! So here is what I leave you with: this kind of thinking is not uncommon on our world, and you may find this movie useful in a group discussion of one of the great heresies of our time.

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