Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini


Passion

Passion
Starring:
Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace


Rated: R for sexual content, language and some violence. 
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: August 30, 2013 Released by: Entertainment One

Rachel McAdams (Midnight In Paris) and Noomi Rapace (Prometheus, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) will offer some cinematic allure in what is mostly an anemic Euro-thriller set mainly in a Berlin steely tower office building that doesn't really ignite in ways its bland title may indicate.
 
Still, Brian DePalma's Passion gyrates in some kind of stylized, trashy psychosexual fervor that for cinephiles may be a riff on the visual stylist's memorable catalogue - from lesser known ones like Body Double to Blow Out and Carrie (which is being remade for release this Fall) and enduring sweeping no holds barred brutality that is Scarface.
 
His redo of a superior, if chilly Love Crime (which featured Kristin Scott-Thomas and Ludivine Sagnier but working deliberately off of the late Alain Corneau's heady premise away from Paris but maintaining tension due in part to a close proximity in age) has an operatic, lurid glossiness about it arguably coming across as more heavy-handedness than really simmering with erotic tension and harrowing reality. McAdams has grown up from her Mean Girls days but may not be as well cast here as a chic, unctuous advertising executive Christine. Personal and professional rivalries simmer with her ambitious, talented creative director Isabelle, a mousy dark-clad Rapace who gets into the character in ways that brings more tantalizing aspects to all of the backstabbing.
 
Christine may be more of the linchpin in a florid French/German co-production as complications occur with Isabelle (whom she desires) and her boyfriend (Paul Anderson) whom Isabelle is in a relationship. The corporate raider seizes a chance for a promotion to a swank New York location by using a smartphone idea by her initially naive underling as her own. But, when Isabelle's YouTube viral retort proves surprising the film shifts gear as an offing puts it into murder mystery territory. It allows for Isabelle's assistant Dani (well played by Karoline Herforth) to raise a few eyebrows before the stealthily twisty, if disappointing denouement.
 
After a praised but commercially floundering geopolitical Redacted the well-renowned auteur knows how to flaunt his directorial choices which allow for adults only outlets (not only on the steamy sapphic side). But for all of the supposed wiles amidst the oneupsmanship with hallucinatory surges and a twist based on Christine's twin (ala the doppelganger in something like Black Swan) a cool viscerally-tinged balletic moment and striking tracking shots renders more of an overwrought, anodyne melodrama than an audaciously, original complement to one of the counterculture's most dynamic disciples.

  Frank Chris Jim Dave Nina Sam Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
Passion        C                     C 

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