HollywoodChicago.com RSS   Facebook   HollywoodChicago.com on Twitter   Free Giveaway E-mail   

Film Review: Brian De Palma Returns with Revenge Thriller ‘Passion’

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionE-mail page to friendE-mail page to friendPDF versionPDF version
Average: 5 (1 vote)

CHICAGO – Brian De Palma returns to what he does best after a few notable failures in the last decade, producing his best work since 2002’s “Femme Fatale” and arguably returning to form in the surprisingly effective thriller “Passion.” It’s certainly not the home run that fans of “Dressed to Kill” or “Blow Out” still hold out hope for the director to deliver but it’s proof that this very stylish filmmaker hasn’t completely thrown in the towel like some of his ‘70s and ‘80s peers. It starts a little slow and ends a little crazy but there’s more to like about “Passion” than I ever would have expected. The film is now available On Demand and will be released in select markets tomorrow, August 2, 2013. It’s worth a look.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.0/5.0
Rating: 3.0/5.0

On its surface, “Passion” seems to be a pretty straightforward vengeance thriller. Of course, De Palma doesn’t make straightforward films, even if this one doesn’t have quite the twisting narrative of a “Raising Cain” or a “Femme Fatale.” This loose remake of the French hit “Love Crime,” centers on a rivalry turned deadly between two women at a high-powered ad agency. Isabelle (Noomi Rapace) has a great idea for an ad for a major client. She takes it to Christine (Rachel McAdams), who takes it for her own concept after their client adores it. Professional competition becomes personal when infidelity, mental disorder, and murder weave their way into De Palma’s plot.

StarRead Brian Tallerico’s full review of “The Social Network” in our reviews section.

De Palma the director may be back, and he’s ably assisted by a notable behind-the-camera crew (including great cinematography from Almodovar regular Jose Luis Alcane and a stellar score from longtime collaborator Pino Donaggio), but De Palma the writer still struggles. I’d really love to see him work with a great script but almost all of the problems of “Passion” come down to poor plotting, weak dialogue, and thin characters. It’s when these problems don’t matter, when De Palma is allowed to sink his teeth into the twisting narrative after about 40 minutes, that the film finally clicks into gear. Before that, it’s a little slow in its set-up and nonsensical in its characters.

Part of the problem is that McAdams goes pretty one-note with Christine, turning her into a cartoonish villain and Rapace is woefully miscast. One can only imagine how much stronger “Passion” would have been with stronger leads. It often feels like De Palma was more interested in his actresses as visual props – one blonde, one brunette, and one redhead – than as characters. When De Palma the visual auteur is allowed to come out and play, this feeling actually enhances the film. When character matters, the film suffers. None of the performances are of the caliber in De Palma’s best work.

StarContinue reading for Brian Tallerico’s full “Passion” review.

“Passion” stars Noomi Rapace and Rachel McAdams. It was written and directed by Brian De Palma. It opens today, August 2, 2013 in some markets and is now available On Demand.

Photo credit: eOne

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.

Hot stories on the Web

User Login

Free Giveaway Mailing


  • Punk Punk

    CHICAGO – For theater that is audaciously in-the-now and generates a sparkle of life, there are few better storefront (garage, gothic gathering place) groups than “Nothing Without a Company.” Their latest, eclectic kick-in-the-head production is the intensely diverting and weirdly fun “Punk Punk.”

  • Assassination Theater

    CHICAGO – There are two dates in modern American History that ring in the heads of certain generations. Of course, there is September 11th, 2001, but the granddaddy of that date is November 22nd, 1963. That is when an American president, John F. Kennedy, was shot point blank in the head and killed on the street of an American city. The official proclamation from the government is that a lone assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, fired those shots. In a new Chicago play, “Assassination Theater,” subtitled “Chicago’s Role in the Crime of the Century,” the jury is still decidedly out.


HollywoodChicago.com on Twitter


HollywoodChicago.com Top Ten Discussions