Despite appealing performances from its leads and welcome subplots about family reconciliation and the enduring influence of loved ones, Colombian-born director Rodrigo Garcia's thriller, "Passengers" (Sony), mostly fails to engage.
The protagonist of the drama -- also alternately a romance and even possibly a supernatural puzzler -- is Claire Summers (Anne Hathaway), an uptight therapist.
Her mentor, Perry (Andre Braugher), engages Claire to counsel the five survivors of a major plane crash. Their memories of the accident generally conflict with the airline's account, a party line insistently maintained by sinister corporate representative Arkin (David Morse).
When these outspoken patients begin to disappear one by one, Claire suspects Arkin, who shadows her, of a cover-up. But she's distracted by initially euphoric survivor Eric (Patrick Wilson), who refuses treatment, but initiates a relationship that places Claire in an ethical doctor-patient quandary.
Inexplicably, Eric seems to know minor details about Claire's life -- like the way she takes her coffee -- and more significant matters as well. He urges her to reunite with her estranged sister, Emma (Stacy Grant). Claire is persuaded to try to reach out to Emma, even turning up at her sister's home, but can't seem to make contact.
Eric, it develops, is also being followed; his pursuer is a strangely familiar dog who becomes the first clue in solving the mystery of the vanishing survivors. A similar hint is provided by Claire's obligingly nosy neighbor, Toni (Dianne Wiest), who, like Eric, seems mysteriously well-informed and may have hidden motives for her solicitude.
This low-key, somewhat muddled film ultimately goes off track with a borrowed plot twist and an excess of wordy psychoanalysis. Also, Claire and Eric's connection, though deeply felt and intended to be permanent, is expressed physically after only a short acquaintance.
As scripted by writer Ronnie Christensen, "Passengers," with its diffuse aims, attempts to defy genre but as a result lacks a consistent tone and a compelling story line.
The film contains nongraphic premarital sexual activity, brief partial rear nudity, occasional crude and crass language, some innuendo and disturbing accident scenes; it is acceptable for older teens. The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.