Passion (2013)

Never thought that the site of two very sexy women making-out, would actually make me laugh-out-loud. First time for everything, right?

A businesswoman (Noomi Rapace) finds herself feeling great and prosperous after an idea she just recently came up with not only gets all of the attention it deserves but puts her name up-top in the company that she works for. However, all of the happiness and feelings of succession that she has, all go away once her ruthless, sexually-driven boss (Rachel McAdams) takes all of the credit for it, just to ensure that her name stays up on top, without any problems whatsoever. Whether she does this out of spite or just strictly business is totally left in the air; but what we do know is that there’s some sort of sexual-attraction between these two that gets very dangerous at times, if not deadly.

Brian De Palma hasn’t really been popping-up in the movie world as of late, and to be honest, I’ve been looking forward to a comeback from the due for quite some time. He’s definitely had some stinkers in the past (looking at you, The Black Dahlia), but for every stinker, there’s at least one or two Blow Out‘s and/or Dressed to Kill‘s. Many have criticized him as being nothing more than a “Hitchcock impersonator” and although I can’t quite disagree that he doesn’t have many of the same notes and rhythms that Hitchcock used, it’s still wrong to discredit the guy. He’s made a name for himself and it’s a pretty respectable name to say the least.

"Taste my fine cotton, bitch!"
“Taste my fine cotton, bitch!”

However, any chances of a “big comeback” of sorts for De Palma should all be put on hold, because this sure as hell isn’t the movie to do it.

Notice how I mentioned both Blow Out and Dressed to Kill though? Notice how they’re both from the 80’s and considered staples of what was considered a gaudy, campy decade for overly-sexualized thrillers? Well, that’s because this movie feels exactly like the type that would have been made back in those days, and while that may have some 80’s-lovers jumping for joy, it didn’t quite work its magic on me. The movie just feels too campy, but with not enough sincerity or fun thrown into the mix. I can get used to a flick that plays around with itself and goes for a bit of a lighter look and feel, but there wasn’t enough substantial material really helping settle out all of the bad parts in between.

The main aspect of this flick that I am indeed talking about, is probably the aspect being most talked-about: The lesbian sub-plot. Yes, there are moments of two gals kissing here, but rather than making it an ultra-sexy, titillating thriller that cranks the heat up every chance a woman half-naked walks into a room or in front of the camera, it’s kept surprisingly tame and small. It’s almost as if De Palma wanted to get us all hot and bothered, but only screw us over in the long run by not finishing what he started. You know where I’m going with this analogy, but for the sake of my female-readers out there, I’m going to keep what I’m trying to say quiet, and allow you dirty men out there to come to your own conclusions.

Trust me, from one man to another: Guys, you know where I’m going with this.

But I may sound like a total perv that can’t get enough porn in his life, but that’s not it at all. There are only inklings of what could have been here, had De Palma decided to go down that full-on road of sex, lesbians, crime, and lies, but it never, ever materializes. And if it did, even in the slightest bit, I never caught onto it; not even during the last 20 minutes when all of a sudden the flick decides to throw us a last-minute twist, screw with our minds, use the gimmick of “dream-sequences that feel like real life”, and give us explanation-after-explanation of something that happened, yet, we never gut full confirmation on. De Palma seems invested in his work and is ready to make us feel the same thrill that he probably felt writing and directing, but it never works for us like it should. It just lingers and lingers, and gets even dumber and dumber as it goes along.

Which, even though I hate to say it, will probably make this movie a camp-classic in a couple of years from now. Seriously, even though the plot is dumb and the thrills are nowhere at all to be found, the movie still has a playful-feel to it where De Palma legitimately thinks he’s back in the 80’s, and still engaged to Nancy Allen. Certain lines are said with the conviction of a day-time, soap opera actress; the score is heard in almost every scene of this movie, and is as corny as they come; and certain lines of dialogue just feel so stilted and awkward, that you’ll only hear it from a movie of this nature, had it been made in the 80’s. The fact that this movie was made in the 21st Century is embarrassing, but like I said, just give it a couple of years, and don’t be surprised when you see possible, Saturday night screenings of this at your local, small-time theater. Wouldn’t hold it against anybody for liking this either, I guess it just wasn’t my bag, baby.

Dun dun dun dunnnnnnn!
Dun dun dun dunnnnnnn!

What made the feeling of watching this train-wreck even worse was watching two very talented, and two very sexy actresses, absolutely fail with this script, all because they are undeniably miscast. Rachel McAdams, as hot and vivacious as she is, still can’t help but feel like she’s in the wrong role in this movie. Sure, she can play the “evil card” like nobody’s business, almost as if she was the grown-up version Regina George, but she feels like she’s a little too young for a role of a business-associate, especially one that seems like she’s been in the game for quite some time. Instead, she just looks and feels like an intern that just so happened to get mixed up with somebody else who worked there and had a higher-power, so she decided to just roll with it and play around with all of her employees for as long as she can. Something tells me that maybe, just maybe, McAdams got a little too excited over the fact that she’d be working with De Palma, and didn’t realize that the script she’d be working with not only didn’t work for her, but nobody else for that matter either.

And if you thought McAdams’ casting was bad, she ain’t got shit on Noomi Rapace’s hack-job. Seriously, even though I may get on McAdams’ case, at least she’s showing some effort on her part; Rapace, on the other hand, just feels bored with this material, like she can’t just sit down in a scene and relax. She has to be up and doing something, and even when she is, she still brings nothing to the table. Her character is boring, her motives are odd, and whatever the hell she wants to do with her life, is totally left up in the air for us to think about. We never quite do get to know much more about her, other than the fact that she may, or may not have a lesbian-crush on her boss, and that’s a big problem, especially when you have these two actresses playing-off one another. Poor girls. Maybe they’ll find better soon.

Consensus: There may be an audience out there for the campy, over-the-top Brian De Palma return-to-action flick, Passion, but I am not apart of that audience, even though I can tell that De Palma cares very much for this material.

3 / 10 = Crapola!!

No tongue?!?!? What kind of crap am I watching!?!?!?
No tongue?!?!? What kind of crap am I watching!?!?!?

Photos Credit to:


  1. Long gone are the days of Scarface and Carlitos Way. Shame, another director that has lost his touch. I hope his next project with Al Pacino ‘Happy Valley’ is his return to form. Super Review as always Dan

  2. Good, but disappointing review. I hate that de Palma is continuing to stink up the joint. I still think I might go see this, but I consider myself adequately warned. 🙂

  3. Good review Dan. I enjoyed the film because there was just enough of that old De Palma sleaze to keep me going and McAdams was having a great time. But you are completely correct with Rapace, which is disappointing because she can do crazy really well. Also, having seen it, I can see why all the pre-controversy (read: publicity) fell through because it’s just so tame compared to his other stuff.

    Still, I had fun, and it’s always nice to know there’s another Dressed To Kill fan out there (now if we can just get that Raising Caine sequel).

  4. I was kind of intrigued by this one and every new De Palma hoping he gets his vibe back. Seems like another dud for him… May be the guy could retire he has made superb films in the past. He read he was looking aging very much at Cannes this May.

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