The Survivor (1981)

Article 2783 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 12-20-2008
Posting Date: 3-27-2009
Directed by David Hemmings
Featuring Robert Powell, Jenny Agutter, Joseph Cotten
County: Australia

The only survivor of the crash of a 747 is a pilot who can’t remember what happened. He ends up meeting a psychic who says she can help him sort out what happened. Meanwhile, those investigating the crash are being killed off.

This movie’s at its best at the very beginning with the crash of the plane, an effective and memorable scene. It also has some interesting touches here and there, including a vision of young girls playing a game (one of those where you sneak up on someone but stop when they turn around). It also makes some good use of a wrecked 747 as an atmospheric location. Unfortunately, the movie quickly loses steam, spending less time investigating the mystery of the crash and more time just being mysterious, with the scenes in which various people are killed off seeming rather out of place. It’s not until the last twenty minutes of the movie that it begins to investigate what happened, and the revelation is… well, disappointing, given what went on before, with a final twist that I saw coming halfway through the movie. The performances by Robert Powell (as the pilot) and Jenny Agutter (as the psychic) are good, but Joseph Cotten is given little more to do than give the pilot a Bible at one point. Still, the movie did win several awards from the Australian Film Institute, but I suspect that’s for its sense of style, which is much stronger than any story it tells.


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