Passengers director responds to criticisms about controversial plot point

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Dec 22, 2016, 6:32 PM EST

With an A-list cast, big budget, and primo December release date — Passengers looked destined to be one of the best films of the year. Then, people actually got to watch it.

Spoilers ahead for Passengers!

First up, we have to spoil a plot point. So, if you don’t want to go in knowing a bit of intel, bookmark this page and come back later. Still here? Let’s dig in. In Passengers, Chris Pratt’s character wakes up 90+ years too early during an interstellar flight. He then becomes obsessed with Jennifer Lawrence’s character and makes the decision to wake her up early so he’s not alone. Basically, he sentenced her to death by waking her up 90 years before the trip is supposed to end.

This … is not a great thing to do, and the film has garnered some criticism because of it (since, in most other movies, that would kinda have made Pratt the villain). Gizmodo caught up with the film’s writer Jon Spaihts, and director Morten Tyldum, to ask them all about it. Here’s what Spaihts had to say:

“It’s not as if it’s an accidental oversight of the film, where we, through some cultural blindness, have failed to see the appalling nature of our hero’s actions. It is the subject of the film. And I think that making a movie that leaves people room to argue about what they would have done, what they could have forgiven, what they can understand or fail to understand, I think that’s great. I think that’s good storytelling. What I don’t believe the movie does is endorse or exonerate anyone. The movie looks, evenhandedly, at the dilemma everybody was in. I think putting good people in impossible circumstances makes for fascinating storytelling.”

Tyldum said he believes they actually addressed the issue fairly well in the film (something a fair share of reviewers don’t agree with), and that they do give Lawrence’s character some agency later on in the story to make up for Pratt’s character’s selfish act:

“I think that most of us, if we had the choice, would have done what Chris’s character do. We’re lying to ourselves if we’re saying that we won’t. And I think also that Jen’s character and her stance, the moment he walks out [of the ship] and may not come back, she understands that, knowing she will be alone on the ship. And she understands. She completely understands why he did that. And I think it’s a very interesting dilemma and I was very fortunate to make a movie on that scale, such a commercial movie, that has this layer of depth.”

Passengers opened yesterday. What did you think of the controversial plot point?

(Via Gizmodo)