22. The Passenger (1975)

Roger's Rating :
Original - Thumbs Down

Should be :

I had wanted to see this movie for a long time. Jack Nicolson - in a highly rated movie with a great director - this had to be good. And it was good. The story of a man who decides his life is no longer worth living and trades it in for another was very interesting. As David Locke puts it : "I've run out of everything - my wife... the house... an adopted child... a successful job... everything except a few bad habits I could not get rid of."
But the movie is also very, very slow with very little action. Antonioni's style is a lot different from Martin Scorsese's, but I still liked the movie. I do think when I see it again I will appreciate it more.
The reason I am adding this movie to this list is because Roger thinks his original review was one of his worst. Roger said : "I did not admire the film in 1975. In a negative review, I observed that Antonioni had changed its title from "The Reporter" to "The Passenger," apparently deciding it was about the Girl, not Locke. Maybe it is simply about passengers who travel in someone else's life: Locke in Robertson's, the Girl in Locke's. I admire the movie more 30 years later. I am more in sympathy with it."

He also had the following dialogue on an At The Movies online interview :

Mathieu: I'd like to know if there are movies that you originally reviewed as bad and that you would review as good today? For example, most critics panned Blade Runner in 1982, but it is mostly universally acclaimed today...
Roger Ebert: I liked "Blade Runner," but some readers thought I didn't like it enough. Antonioni's "The Passenger" has worn well. After it was re-cut and shortened, I liked "The Brown Bunny" a LOT more.

So, I'll have to trust Roger on this one. He doesn't admit he was wrong very often. His original review is no longer online but it must have been pretty bad; he says so himself.

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