In life, you’re often told to stick with what you know. If you can do at least one thing well, you’re set for life. Well, I’m afraid that may not always be the case. You can only do the same thing over and over again, before it becomes stale and unoriginal. In the case of this once legendary director, it seems as if he has run out of steam and doesn’t know what he’s doing.
Isabelle James (Noomi Rapace) is an up-and-coming advertising agent with bright ideas. She’s sees the world in a lighter way and believes that if you work hard, you will get what you want. However, her boss Christine Stanford (Rachel McAdams) would say otherwise. Christine is manipulative and will do or say whatever it takes to get ahead in life; even if that means taking Isabelle’s ideas and passing them off as her own. According to Christine’s boyfriend Dirk (Paul Anderson), Christine gets what she wants. That’s just the way it is.
When tensions escalate between Isabelle and Christine, things take a turn for the worse. Christine begins seducing Isabelle and seeking a loving relationship between them. While seeking love, Christine also seeks to publicly humiliate Isabelle for getting with Dirk. One thing leads to another, and someone is eventually murdered. Now, the mystery lies within who the murderer is and why they killed someone. A web of lies will be explored as the truth is waiting to be unraveled.
Once great director Brian de Palma (Scarface, Carrie, The Untouchables, Mission: Impossible) WAS at one point, a master of suspense and intrigue. Now, it’s apparent that he’s lost his touch and should try something fresh. Passion is quite possibly the least passionate film I’ve seen of his and it’s as if he was trying to create a film from his recycled plots and twist. That pile of trash includes terrible dialog, ridiculously dull plots, and very flat characters whom make it tough to care for. In what was anticipated to be his great return, Passion is exhaustingly boring and uninteresting.
I am a huge fan of Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace and I think that they are two of Hollywood’s best supporting ladies. While one sticks to romance, the other branches out into the realms of Sci-Fi and demented stories. For Passion, the two forget what they knew about acting and stick to emoting dialog that sounds like it was written for a Soap Opera. As much as I love both actresses, I can’t deny that these are their worst performances. Their characters are so one-dimensional and they have zero depth to them. Their lines come off as unbelievable and their “lesbian relationship” is used quickly and is never truly explained. It’s clear that they both tried to make this film bearable, but they fall short and end up making fools of themselves.
The story, or lack thereof, is all over the place and travels down the paths least taken (there is a reason for that). The rivalry and relationship between Christine and Isabelle is incredibly bi-polar, as they’re lovers and fighters within five minutes. There is no reason for Christine to want to sabotage Isabelle’s future, yet she tries to anyways. Then, there’s the issue of Dirk’s efforts with both women and his drunken state that gets both women into trouble. He seems like a pawn in a much larger game of chess. The queens attempt to take each other out and only one survives. At that point, the story is uninteresting and the questionable plot twists make little to no sense and are essentially unnecessary.
Amidst all the overwhelmingly unpleasant parts of this film, there were a few things that I actually enjoyed. I am a fan of Brian de Palma and his work, so the nods he makes to his older films were a nice addition to the film. His building of suspense and ability to have you think one thing and then show you another, is refreshing in this day-and-age of film and makes for a couple of nice surprises. The film also looks appealing, so when the story wears you out, at least you can appreciate the nice images.
Defining my experience with this film as dreadful, would be an understatement. I despised this film throughout its entirety. There was little that I could latch on to and actually appreciate in this film. This is actually the first time that I’ve ever been upset with performances by the usually great Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace. They’re both very talented actresses who have no business being in this abysmal film. While at one point, de Palma knew what was doing, but it’s clear now that he’s either lost his touch or decided to half-ass this latest entry of his. I would strongly urge you to skip Passion, as the only passion you would find for it will be that of distaste.