Friday, May 2, 2014

Passion (2012)

What happens when The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo meets the meanest of the Mean Girls? Well if Brian De Palma is at the helm then you can at expect some sexy thrills, a few dark laughs and some wonderful camera work. Unless Mr. De Palma wasn’t up for the task. Was this a passion project or just a snooze at the wheel?

Christine Stanford (Rachel McAdams) is the star of her company. She can tangle with the big boys, swim with the sharks and always walk away with the deal. Isabelle James (Noomi Rapace) is the up and coming exec, full of bright ideas and energy to make her mark. But one of her bright ideas has just netted a huge client, some major money – and Christine takes all the credit and rewards. At first Isabelle is offended and disturbed by this, but then uses it as a teaching tool.

When she attempts to get back at Christine, she finds herself seriously outmatched. Isabelle endures a very public humiliation, and starts to crack. But just how far will Isabelle go to make sure Christine never does the same thing to anyone else? Is this game of revenge based on cold ego or is it all a serious crime of Passion?

Good Points:
  • De Palma’s mastery of visual style is in full display
  • Has some fun and unexpected twists
  • The cast is having a blast in the parts
Bad Points:
  • May be too stylized for those looking for a serious grim thriller
  • None of the characters end up being very likable
  • May seem a bit tame compared to some of De Palma’s earlier work

This film is like a throwback to the 1990s thriller genre, with wicked women, sexy situations and plot twists that are unbelievable but fun. De Palma makes it all work with some wonderful cinematography and editing. He keeps the viewer guessing a number of times as the story progresses. It is a nifty thriller for an evening viewing, and one that reminds you how much fun this genre can be.

Scores (out of 5)
Visuals: 4
Sound: 3
Acting: 4
Script: 4
Music: 4
Direction: 4
Entertainment: 4
Total:  4

Curious about a full review, sent me an email and I’ll make additional thoughts to this review.


  1. This one slipped by me. Characters in movies who are shamelessly amoral are refreshing. We all get a little tired of people who wrap their pursuits of self-interest and personal satisfaction in cloaks of pseudo-selflessness: “I’m doing this for ____.” (Fill in the blank with “you” or “community” or “shareholders” or “greater good” or whatever fits the situation.) Sure. In practice these folks are really better than an out-and-out sociopath like Christine – their need to convince themselves and others of their ethics bespeaks SOME conscience after all. However, on screen, a Christine can be enjoyable. Sounds fun.

    1. I agree. And especially for a thriller in this vein, that kind of heartless villain is much more fun to watch. But I've run into people who end up disliking a film if they can't find one character likable.

      One thing I was a bit disappointed in was the lack of dark humor. There was some, but the film really seemed to be built for a bit more. I think that was just a personal exception, so I didn't count it against the movie.

  2. Yeah, this flew by my radar as well. I've enjoyed Rapace in Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and Prometheus. I don't mind amoral characters if they're handled well. I thought the character Phillip Seymour Hoffman played in the film, Before the Devil Knows Your Dead, was well done,yet he was seriously flawed.

    In one film I saw recently, Prisoners, the character that Hugh Jackman played was flawed as well, but I totally got wrapped up in that film. If you haven't seen it, check it out. I thought it was a pretty harrowing film. In some parts of that film, you'll probably have to suspend some disbelief to get into it, but I thought it was a pretty riveting movie.

    1. Yeah my dad saw "Prisoners" and really liked it too. Jackman is always dependable. Even in crappy movies, he rises above and makes it work. I'll check this one out.