Brian De Palma Month: “Passion”

As this series nears its end, I had to choose only two more movies to review for it.  Obviously the final one will be the movie that inspired me to do this series, and the second one should be De Palma’s latest film.  After a quick scroll through his IMDb page, I found that film.

Passion is directed by Brian De Palma and written by Brian De Palma and Natalie Carter.  Stars-Noomi Rapace, Rachael McAdams, Karoline Herfurth, and Paul Anderson.  Premise-Based on the 2010 film, Love Crime (which I haven’t seen), Passion follows a sales associate (McAdams) and her assistant (Rapace).  When her boss steals her idea, what follows is a very confusing path of lies, backstabbing, and murder.

No, the main reason I wanted to review this movie is not to watch Rapace and McAdams make out (believe it or not, that was a major aspect of this movie’s marketing).  The sad thing is that many would consider that to be the best thing about this movie.  I wanted to review Passion (God knows why they named it that) because De Palma is directing a new movie.  This guy has been persisting for decades, and I wanted to see how much better or worse his career became over time.  As I said in the Mission to Mars review, he never recovered after that bomb.

The very first shot implicitly tells us the overall feeling of the film: unexplained and confusing.  With some directors (John Carpenter, Stanley Kubrick, Brian De Palma, etc.) they make better movies if they also write the script.  Unfortunately, the screenplay of this movie is beyond incoherent.  In the first scene, we see the two main characters with absolutely no introduction for 5 minutes.  Only after some painfully obvious exposition do we learn who they are.  The plot gets more and more convoluted bloated complicated as it goes on, but unlike that of Inception, Shutter Island, or 2001: A Space Odyssey, this movie goes for the Sucker Punch route (needlessly bloated).  The characters are extremely bland (their dialogue is even worse), there are 5+ underdeveloped subplots, and the last 10 minutes (while kinda tense) have absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the movie.

This movie was not produced by any major companies.  According to Wikipedia, they had a $25 million budget, and this is why we don’t trust Wikipedia.  This movie does not deliver on the production quality.  It could be that I recently reviewed The Untouchables (a movie with impeccable production design) for this series, but Passion has all the stylistic appeal of a no-budget short film.  The worst offender is a horribly shoddy blood effect that happens during one of this movie’s THREE confusing dream sequences.  Batman v Superman (that movie that was nominated for all the Razzies) had better dream sequences because it told me what was a dream and what was real.  Passion never makes it clear what parts of these sequences are real, so when the movie is over, you’re left scratching your head thinking, “Excuse me, what?”

Yes, this was a short review (the movie gave me so little to work with).  De Palma’s style couldn’t salvage this mess, the lackluster performances don’t do the ridiculous plot any favors, and the decent music only reminds me that I could have been watching Dressed to Kill instead.  Passion gets Guy’s Guru Grade of a D.

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