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Anthony Michael Hall
In Reno, the former successful trumpet player Nate Poole has a one night stand with the wife of the powerful and ruthless mobster Happy Shannon and one of his gangsters abducts Nate to kill him in the desert. Out of the blue, Nate is saved by Indians and he walks through the desert until he reaches a side show owned by Sam Adamo. Nate asks if Sam has a telephone to make a phone call to his friend Harriet, but he sees a beautiful woman with wings called Lily Luster and he asks a drink to her. Then he invites Lily to move with him to Reno. However Sam kidnaps Nate to kill him with a snake, but Lily rescues Nate with a truck and they head to Reno. Nate plots a scheme to raise some money, offering Lily to Happy. Along their journey back to Reno, Nate falls in love with her and he decides to call off the agreement with Happy. But the criminal finds Nate's hideout and abducts Lily and keeps the angel with him. Neverthless Nate is decided to rescue Lily from Hàppy's fortress. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Seedy bar trumpeter, Mickey Rourke, gets gets hit over the head outside the bar, gets dragged to the desert to be shot, presumably for some shady misdemeanour. His captor gets shot instead, by shadowy figures, dressed in white.
Nate Poole (Rourke) trudges on through the desert and into the night, where he stumbles on a travelling circus. Rhys Ifans is a sort of compère and then, Nate's eyes fall on a young woman, in a red outfit and who has wings. This vision of beauty (Megan Fox) has him enthralled and he tries to speak to her afterward.
As Messrs Ifans and Co gets riled, Lily Luster (Fox) decides this show has used her too much and needs to break free and drives them both out. The pair sort of go on the road, Rourke all lived-in and leathery rough and Fox young, enticing and fresh.
Passion Play scores a mightily measly 4.4 on the IMDb, and as a rule, I don't even bother with films on Sky Movies that score less than 5 - and that's 5/10, hardly a great starting point.
Mickey Rourke not so long ago was on Oscar nominated form in The Wrestler and whilst he's (apparently, I've not seen them) been in some awful movies in the past, was this an unfortunate return to that form for him?
Well, for a start, the fantasy elements are crudely done, with hardly any sense of magic to them. It's as if director Mitch Glazer hadn't even tried to convey any sense of wonder, so Lily's character never comes across more than a rather timid kid who's got a secret to hide. Mickey Rourke, doesn't seem to immerse himself in the part fully, generally avoiding looking into the camera at least at first, opening up as the film progresses. As a supposed grizzled junkie musician, he seldom delivers the expected wisdom, bitterness and nostalgia that a fully developed character might. He's still in great shape though, as the generous amounts of him appearing shirtless shows.
An almost unrecognisable Bill Murray, whose appearance I was looking forward to, is completely wasted, talent-wise as a ruthless gangster that wants Lily for himself, to use as a novelty act.
There's nothing so terrible in this movie that makes you want to switch it off, but next thing you know, it's half way through - and what has the film achieved? We don't feel as if we know these two people any better, even though they've been waffling on about themselves quite a lot.
I was wondering whether the director and the film itself was trying to emulate Wim Wender's beautiful and enigmatic 'Wings Of Desire' and failing at almost every level. This is Mitch Glazer's first directorial, he's normally a screenwriter (he scripted this film, too) and this lack of experience shows. He did possibly have some great ideas but to mould them into a living, breathing movie is another thing and with two first- class actors, maybe he has been too star struck to get the best from them.
I would suggest that only devout fans of Mickey Rourke check this out - he will always be a larger than life character in any film he's in and he's not actually bad in this, he gets better as the film develops. As for Bill Murray; he could be anybody, played by anybody.
As for Megan Fox, she just tends to look rather awkward and appropriately rather glum, with her CGI'd shoulder adornments. There are hints that Lily's character might develop into a Natalie Portman one in Black Swan; troubled, deep etc but that may be just down to the music and atmosphere that surrounds her at times.
It all moves onto a scenario where three people are vying for Lily's skills and potential dollars, as Rhys Ifan's tracks her down and says that he 'discovered' her. The ending wasn't totally unexpected and was fitting and neatly rounded off this rather oddly and clumsily put- together romantic fantasy.
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