The Passenger (2023) 2023 / A road trip thriller that rouses and excites, even if it sometimes seems like it’s going nowhere


More psychological drama than bloody horror, The Passenger focuses on its two leads, Randy (Johnny Berchtold) and Benson (Kyle Gallner), and the odd bond they form while on the run. Randy is held hostage by the violent Benson, but Benson only asks that Randy confront his trauma and realize his potential. They’re not quite friends, but as two broken people taking part in a broken society, they share a fondness for each other that complicates the typical captor-captive narrative. It’s not as raw or gritty or even as dark as you’d expect, and there are moments when the film meanders only to end up at a dead end. But it has profound things to say about trauma, healing, and second chances, and those turns, while unexpected, are also wholly welcome in this unassumingly powerful film.  

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