Movie Review: 'Passion' -- 2 stars
Directed by Brian De Palma
Starring Rachel McAdams, Noomi Rapace
Brian De Palma's "Passion" is a positively nutty movie. In an age of mind-numbing cinematic clones, that's something to celebrate, even if the film isn't actually any good.
You're unlikely to be bored by the depiction of the rivalry between controlling advertising boss Christine (Rachel McAdams) and her talented underling Isabelle (Noomi Rapace), which includes sexual gamesmanship, endless backstabbing and public humiliation.
This remake of the 2010 French movie "Love Crime" is a melodrama pitched at a hellish shriek. De Palma ramps up the expressionistic shadows, canted angles and lurid close-ups. The filmmaker packs in his favored split-screens, long takes and overt camera movements, which add little to this sleek corporate world.
That's the problem here: "Passion" is a De Palma greatest hits package, the filmmaker showing off, more than anything else.
The story is rather nonsensical, filled with mumbo jumbo about Ponzi schemes, advertising contracts and kinky sexual encounters. The movie begins in a linear fashion before devolving into sheer psychological muck.
De Palma encourages his actors to play their parts with such over-the-top glee that they're hard to take seriously. Subtlety need not apply.
But in a larger sense, the characters are pawns in the stylistic game; they're unlikable and indecipherable, subject to the whims of the hyperactive mise-en-scene. It's melodrama without the drama, excess for excess' sake.