Passion is a triumph of stupidity
Directed by Brian De Palma. Starring Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace. Rating unavailable.
From its patently false title to alleged twists that only make previous sequences more meaningless, Passion is a movie of such surpassing, almost triumphal stupidity that theatres should skip regular screenings and go straight to the midnight kind. At least we’ve found this year’s Showgirls.
Brian De Palma has made roughly two dozen features, this one a remake of Alain Corneau’s 2010 Crime d’amour—a French thriller so tough it killed its director. Based on the absurd plotting, purple décor, confused characterizations, and hilariously stilted dialogue, you’d think it was from a recent film-school grad shamelessly plumbing Dressed To Kill, Femme Fatale, and other enjoyably pulpy Hitchcock rip-offs from De Palma’s own back catalogue.
Still, someone substantial must have talked Rachel McAdams into anchoring this fiesta of malodorous storytelling. There’s much Elizabeth Berkley in her “interpretation” of Berlin ad-agency hotshot Christine, a red-lipsticked Yank who revels in taunting underling Isabelle (Sweden’s blank-faced Noomi Rapace), who may not be as drably harmless as she seems. For example, Izzy is sleeping with her boss’s ostensible boyfriend (Britain’s charisma-free Paul Anderson) and is capable of pulling some pretty dirty tricks.
De Palma gives their corporate cat fight a forced frisson of pseudosexuality, with their lady troubles further compounded by Isabelle’s assistant (The Reader’s memorable Karoline Herfurth). She gets in on the chicanery as everyone tries to outwit everyone else in this underpopulated crazyland. With wits like this, it isn’t hard.
De Palma must be a truly independent soul; from the evidence here, he has zero idea how media executives act, dress, or talk. Instead, he lets slanted camera angles, Venetian-blind shadows, laughably bad split-screen effects, and cheesy ’80s-style music (cue the late-night saxophone) do the heavy lifting.
That’s fine if you want a big-screen Red Shoe Diaries. But you’d think by now he’d be over those was-it-all-a-bad-dream moments. Certainly, no one should be allowed five of those in a single movie.