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(2012)

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The narrator goes mad
chaos-rampant20 June 2013
DePalma's first film in five years is purely for the fans, a throwback to his sensual thrillers of old; Sisters, Obsession, Dressed to Kill. So right off the bat, this probably excludes the majority of casual viewers who will find this too messy and too illogical to be of substance. Younger viewers who simply pick this off a website, will probably see the visual tricks he pulls as weird, lame stabs on ordinary technique.

The problem is that DePalma has not changed as a filmmaker, it's the film norm that has absorbed and extended so much visual language that was considered somewhat radical in his time, so when Tony Scott films are marketed as ordinary action, of course he'll seem far less sophisticated. Same thing happened with Hitchcock near the end, when guys like DePalma where coming out.

But oh what sweet, sweet DePalmaesque inanity this is!

What DePalma is saying is always in the camera. He seems to say: this is a movie, the result of illusory placement of the eye, so why not go wild on placement? Also: the eye, by its very nature, causes narrative dislocation. He is intelligent, not in what the dislocations mean but in the fact they are shown to be at work, which now and then fool as depth in just the same way they fool the characters.

You'll see all sorts of fooling the eye here. The car crash in the company garage, first filmed as dramatic with lachrymose piano cues and the second time as comedy. Scenes filmed with dutch angles and unusual shadows to register as dream but they are real. A split-screen that lies about its timeline. A scene set-up to be viewed as hallucinative dream but it's a flash back. And later we know it was an untrusted narration.

Many others will make a more streamlined, more exciting thriller, but no one is so committed to expose cinematic illusion like DePalma. He doesn't hit deep, because the illusion is not wrapped around character but around plot, that is always the tradeoff with him. A tradeoff I am willing to make, because I can find more introspective filmmakers elsewhere. There is Wong Kar Wai, Shunji Iwai. Lynch, who brings illusion alive.

But then you have an ending like this. It is utterly nonsensical as story, but the narrator has fooled us so much we'll fool ourselves thinking it's more than madness.
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6/10
Not that passionate
IndustriousAngel3 July 2013
This is just an OK film which means it's a bit disappointing from a director who has a reputation. It works as a - not very thrilling - thriller, and Noomi Rapace does a good performance. Plus the film delivers some intense scenes and good photography in front of very cool, emotionally empty sets.

What doesn't work so good: It starts as a kind of 21st century version of an 80s erotic thriller, but never gets erotic. In fact, the title is ridiculous, because it never even gets passionate - everybody tries to be in control and nothing happens instinctively or out of reflex. (The slow, controlled ballet sequence strengthens this impression). Also, Rachel McAdams is good at bitchy, but I couldn't believe in her as a tough enterprise lady. And finally, the twist, when it finally came, was exactly what was hinted at ...
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2/10
All style, no passion
avenuesf17 June 2013
Hard to believe Brian dePalma has sunk this low. The film is boring, dreadfully scripted, and looks like a long perfume commercial. Real people just don't dress and look like this; DePalma seemed to be heading toward this stylized, air-brushed Playboy magazine look when he made "Dressed to Kill," and it's gotten progressively worse with each film, except "The Untouchables." "Passion's" script starts out to be about two female executives vying for the same account, and then goes off in five different directions. He toys with gratuitous lesbianism in some segments, which might have been bold and sexy in the 70's and 80's, but now just comes off looking dated and embarrassing. The film's 100 minutes could easily have been pared down to 20 and it would have been more interesting and less ponderous. A real disappointment.
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5/10
unintentionally hilarious.
Greenzombidog2 March 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Advertising execs stab each other in the back over their careers and a an average looking cockney scrub in this mediocre pantomime thriller.

Rachel Mcadams is given the opportunity to prove she is more than just a rom-com princess in the role of the manipulative boss lady to Noomi Rapace's Ad campaign creator, an opportunity she squanders. It's not entirely her fault though with such a terrible script to work with there wasn't a lot she could do. Noomi Rapace is dreadful, for me she hasn't yet been convincing in an English language role and she is just either wooden or over the top in this. The plot twists are visible with your eyes closed and nothing will be a surprise. The only thing that kept me watching were the laughs and this isn't a comedy. Some of the dialogue is so stupid I just kept feeling my jaw drop.

When Rachel Mcadams tells a tragic story from her characters childhood and her and Noomi Rapace are just sat there sobbing it actually made me laugh because the acting was so terrible and the words they were saying were so poorly written. Add to this the amount of times you get one of those suddenly waking up from a dream moments (a cheap movie trick thats overused) that the film becomes a bit of a mess. So much of this is poor even down to the add campaign that triggers the war between these two women. Their clients are in such raptures over this dreadful idea that it's ridiculous. Also the rough looking guy they chose to play the love interest adds another comedy element to it. Why would these two attractive successful women be tearing each other apart over this guy?

I'm sure I read on some of the advertising that this was supposed to be an erotic thriller. There were no erotic moments in this film anywhere. I think someone pulled a dildo out a drawer at some point and there was a lesbian smooch thats all the eroticism you get I'm afraid.

I can't believe this was directed by De Palma. I have enjoyed many of his films in the past and I hope this is just a blip and not the shape of the things to come
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It's OK
utgard1410 November 2013
Watchable De Palma time killer that borrows heavily from the director's earlier works...which in turn borrowed heavily from Alfred Hitchcock. Whole lot of borrowing going on. Still, that has little to do with judging how entertaining the film is and more about judging its artistic value.

My first impression of Rachel McAdams is that she was miscast but I accepted her more as the film goes on. Noomi Rapace is fine. I assume both women were intentionally directed to act in a somewhat peculiar manner by De Palma. It bears pointing out for those misled by the poster, trailer, or press for this film that it's not really the sexy lesbian thriller it's made out to be. That stuff only plays a peripheral role in the film and you never get any particularly sexy scenes between McAdams and Rapace as one might be led to believe by the marketing.

Still, it's an entertaining enough movie. Not De Palma's best but far better than his last two films.
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6/10
very much a DePalma movie
Lee Eisenberg14 January 2014
I had grown disappointed with Brian DePalma throughout the 1990s and 2000s. The man who gave us "Phantom of the Paradise", "Carrie", "Dressed to Kill", "Scarface" and "Carlito's Way"* suddenly turned to overblown stuff like "Mission: Impossible", "Snake Eyes" and "The Black Dahlia". So it's a little bit of a treat to see "Passion". It's not as good as his early work, but the tension between the main characters is definitely what I hope for in one of his movies. In fact, DePalma tricks the audience by getting them to think that it's a clash-of-egos story...before the real plot line sets in. Far from her perky roles in previous movies, Rachel McAdams plays a scary executive. The viewer practically wishes for Noomi Rapace's character to do something nasty.

Basically, "Passion" has a hint of what usually made DePalma's movies good. It's probably not going to be for everyone, but I liked it.

*For the record, I didn't think that "Bonfire of the Vanities" was that bad.
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2/10
Ridiculous Remake - Watch "Crime d'amour" Instead
Claudio Carvalho27 April 2014
"Passion" is a ridiculous remake of the great French thriller "Crime d'amour". The screenplay uses the same storyline and has minors but significant modifications when compared to the original movie that spoils the movie. The scene of the murder of Christine in the original movie is unbeatable. The police investigation of the evidences is very poor in this remake. The conclusion is awful. The decadent Brian De Palma still uses split screen technique but without any brilliance. The two lead actresses of the original movie, Kristin Scott Thomas and Ludivine Sagnier, are wonderful and their duel is engaging. However, Rachel McAdams never convinces as an executive and looks like a vulgar woman. My vote is two.

Title (Brazil): "Passion"
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1/10
silly spite and pointless rejoinders
eumenades3 July 2013
Have you ever wondered how it is possible to identify a rubbishy movie within the first 20 seconds of dialog? It is simply amazing how fast a crap script writer can get fatuous nauseating inane notions across in such a short time; something that should surely be speculated upon in film schools during the first semester. And we sure have one here: silly spite, pointless rejoinders, phony regrets, token-lesbianism, sleazy egoism; all in one pointless, plot less string of malicious banalities that makes melodramatic 50s B movies look like literary fiction. Have you ever wondered why, even when given a million dollar budget, movie makers will waste such an opportunity on a string of clichés and bland story development that would embarrass your thirteen-year-old daughter and bore your cat? It is surely a wonder. And a wonder that movie audiences would put up with such drivel and not walk out.

Well, I did. And it took me an hour to recover my composure.
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4/10
May as well watch the French original
greenjeep9261 March 2014
DePalma must have made this on a lark as it was pretty weak. Some of the shots are stellar, classic Depalma, especially with the use of streaks of bright color on Christine and some of the angles and hard shadows. The casting of Rachael McAdams as Christine was a huge mistake as it is impossible for anyone who saw the original Love Crimes to not compare her to the French Christine. McAdams' character was too young and girly, lacking the poise, command and sophistication required for a person in a position of Christine's. This movie moved too fast and did not explore the psychology of the characters with the necessary patience nor did it pace the plot properly. Noomi Rapace was good, but this is no surprise. Do yourself a favor and see the original, as the acting is far more superb, and it is casted and paced much better. It will not be ruined one bit by seeing Passion beforehand.
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1/10
What an awful movie
Philip Nagle18 February 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Terrible movie. Cant believe how bad this was. Its very rare that I leave the cinema mid way through a movie but for this I willingly made an exception. The acting was really bad, the script was horrendous, really bad! I only joined IMDb.com so that I can write a review of this movie - thats how bad this movie was! I thought that there was a very disappointing performance from Noomi, I thought she would be better. I thought Paul Anderson was also completely bad too and his name deserves a special mention for how awful his performance was. Some completely ridiculous bits in the movie which beggars belief as to how it was accomplished. Such a pity that Brian De Palma was involved in this movie, I'm sure there was lots of squirming at the premiere when it became apparent how bad this movie actually was...
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2/10
Please, lets go home.
jartuka20 February 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I like Brian de Palma, but this movie is actually one of the worse movies that I have seen in the Cinema these last years. Why? Of course there are worse movies but at least they don't sell the trailers like these ones are going to be awesome. Passion was sell with a "sexual" and "Passion" content and when you arrive to the movie you cannot wait to have one of these words, and you finally go out of the room without having any of them. Basically there is more mysterious and sexual content in Showgirls or Bound that in this movie. If you want to enjoy your "Brian de Palma feeling" (if you have it) don't watch this movie or your idea about him will change. I just want that these type of scripts stops to pop up in this Industry because seriously, they will kill the idea of enjoying a movie and the only thing that we will feel is (when is this finishing? I want to go home).
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7/10
Diabolical & Lurid Noir
Larry Silverstein12 November 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Brian De Palma's latest is his version of the 2010 French film "Love Crime", starring Kristin Scott Thomas and Ludivine Sagnier, and directed by Alain Corneau. I found De Palma's movie to be a diabolical and lurid noir enhanced by fine performances. I looked back in my reviews and saw that I gave "Love Crime" the same rating as this new version.

Rachel McAdams is superb as Christine, the vicious and conniving sociopath, who's into kinky sex, and will let no one stand in her way when she desires something, either in her office or personal life. She's the boss of a branch of an international advertising firm.

Noomi Rapace portrays Isabelle,, Christine's top Account Executive at the company. When Chrisitne takes credit for a popular new advertising campaign that Isabelle and her assistant Dani, also strongly portrayed by Karoline Herfurth, had created, Isabelle retaliates by posting a youtube version of the ad (which goes viral) taking proper credit.

This sets off a "war" between Christine and Isabelle that will escalate into all kinds of sabotage and eventually murder. I should mention also that a sub-plot here has Paul Anderson, as Dirk, who has embezzled 5 million euros from the firm and who's playing sexual games with both Chrisitine and Isabelle, at his own risk it turns out.

Unfortunately, I thought De Palma's ending here was confusing and marred the film somewhat for me. I can see by most reviews that this movie is not for everyone but I found it to be, overall, an engrossing and erotic journey that kept my attention throughout.
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4/10
It's not only bad. It's worse than Joe Eszterhas bad.
Robert E22 August 2013
Warning: Spoilers
What ever happened to Brian De Palma, the great film maker who gave us contemporary classics such as Carrie, Dressed to Kill, Blow Out, Body Double, Scarface, The Untouchables and Carlito's Way?

Did he make a pact with the Devil to gain success in the '70s and '80s, and now he's got to pay the price? Or did he ask his friend Francis Ford Coppola for career advice?

Brian De Palma's career started going south with Snake Eyes and Mission to Mars and was cemented with the all time low Femme Fatale.

Well, that was until the complete mess that is also known as Passion (2012). This film is utter rubbish from start to finish and I felt bad for Noomi Rapace who really tries to do the best with the terrible script she's been handed.

The story, if one can call it such, focuses around two business women. One is sleeping with the other one's boyfriend, the other get back at her by messing with her career-wise etc. I will not go into spoiler territory, but it feels like De Palma loses his way completely in the third act and desperately tries to evoke some of the style he used in the '70s and '80s but he misses his goal completely.

Passion (2012) isn't even "so bad it's good" like the hilarious '90s work of Joe Eszterhas (Showgirls (1995), Jade (1995), Sliver (1993) - in that order), nor remotely charming in it's cluelessness. It's just an all-around stinker.
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7/10
Cross between a late-night made-for-cable movie and a European art film
film5414 September 2012
Saw this one at the Toronto International Film Festival, it's a cross between a late night made for cable movie and a European art film. The cinematography is great, lots of inventive shots. Actually, nearly every shot is a winner. The musical score can

Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace ham it up as back stabbing mind f*cking executives. They have great chemistry and as the plot twists along we are never quite sure who to root for. Rachel McAdams' Christine basically plays a grown up version of Regina George from Mean Girls.

None of it is meant to be taken too seriously. The Anyone who liked Basic Instinct, Fatal Attraction or De Palma's own Dressed to Kill will be into this movie.
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2/10
I've lost my Passion for cinema
David Harris18 February 2013
Warning: Spoilers
This is one of those movies that try hard to convince you that they are intellectual, and hence good. Well, it's an absurd movie guided nowhere fast by bad acting and pointless scenes. Well, fast is not precise, I take that back: I checked my clock after what I thought to be almost 2h of movie... just to come to the horrible realization that we have only been there for one hour! My comment at the end was that it's like a pretentious version of "Mean Girls", but without the funny parts... and less intelligent dialogues. Go figure. It's just a bad job that the director tried to patch up with random "intelectual" scenes. You will hear about treason and mystery: there was treason, more like petty fights. I accept there was some mystery, but when you get to that point, you just don't care. Oh, and they advertise it like an erotic-like movie, but there are no actual sex scenes involved. You're welcome.
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3/10
De Palma one more step down the ladder
Thomas Engels21 July 2013
I've always been annoyed with Brian De Palma, because he so blatantly plagiarized Hitchcock, without ever developing a style of his own that could survive without constantly borrowing from the master. Nonetheless, De Palma did direct some decent movies, my favorites being Dressed to Kill, Body Double and Scarface.

Be that as it may, his recent efforts (Femme Fatale, Passion) were so shamelessly bad, that I will have to watch closer to make sure I do not run into one of his mongrels again.

I could not watch Passion to the end, it was just too much. I'll be brief:

Direction: sloppy, disinterested, too linear Camera: cheap, TV-ish Acting: appalling, especially Rapace is shockingly bad, robotic and not believable Story: run-of-the-mill B-movie
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10/10
The culmination of DePalma's career
SJinSeaTac22 June 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I watched "Love Crime" about two years ago and I agree with most critics that it is the film version of "Damages." I just finished watching "Passion" (French bluray version) and....wow. What DePalma has done is not reinvent the wheel, but taken what he knows and meshed it with a well received French film from 2010. After all, his formula, dating back to "Carrie" has always worked for him. And in "Passion", he is back in all of his bloody glory.

Isabel has an amicable relationship with her boss, Christine. Both work at a large corporate public relations firm in Germany. Christine has her eye on the cushy executive job in New York, but poor poor Isabel does all of the work that Christine passes off as her own. She reassures Isabel that taking credit for her work is all part of the business. But as the film plays out, we start to see that Christine is manipulative, conniving, and though she explains that her actions are all part of the job, there is always an angle for her. And Isabel buys into what Christine tells her- at least you are led to believe she does. Or is she even MORE manipulative than Christine? You will have to watch the movie to find out.

Isabel gets frustrated by being pushed down and finally goes over Christine's head by releasing a new smartphone advertisement she developed onto YouTube before Christine comes out with her own version. Needless to say, the claws come out shortly thereafter and Christine takes to humiliating Isabel, and engaging in destructive conduct to have her fired. But then a twist comes, and someone dies. Horribly. Who did it. Again, you will have to watch to find out. Because even if you have seen "Love Crime", you might have your doubts while watching it.

DePalma proves to be the master of the erotic thriller once again. Not since "Femme Fatale" have we seen his return to the modern murder mystery/thriller. Basically, what you have in "Passion" is a shot for shot retelling of "Love Crime" with some minor changes and a classic DePalma ending accompanied by Pino Donagio's "Dressed to Kill" score blaring, with actions speaking for the characters instead of words. Minor changes have been made, and for the better. The ending is a twist where as in "Love Crime" the killer is immediately revealed. The subplot with Isabel's sister has been taken out and further developed into Isabel's assistant's character, who is now a woman, and love-struck, too. And there are two entirely new subplots that work to support the ending of the film, and let's just say that DePalma's "Sisters", where he started his career in this genre back in 1973, is in full effect towards the end.

DePalma does something here that I absolutely think works for him: he combines all of his major successes in film of the past 40 years into the climax. Remember what I said about not reinventing the wheel? Well not to spoil it for you, but think "Sisters" meets "Raising Cain" meets "Dressed to Kill" meets "Body Double" meets "Blow Out" by the end of this. Yes, all of the nastiest bits of violence, dreams within dreams, doppelgangers, asphyxiation, voyeurism, and maybe a little borrowing from the Wachowski's movie "Bound." But just a little ;)

This movie is DePalma's life work rolled into one. His fans will be happy to know that DePalma is back, and better than ever.
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10/10
DePalma back at his BEST
jonc-962-38831931 March 2014
Some really great acting here. DePalma knows how to direct these 2 wonderful actresses and he gets incredible performances out of them. The scene in which Noomi is laughing during the company party is absolutely priceless.

A lot of people on here taking this movie WAY too seriously. Doesn't anyone realize that this flick is just drenched in DARK COMEDY?!?! These characters are sexy, fun, great, and the way that they battle each other in this movie is just a roller-coaster of dark, comedic, scary, erotic, and hilarious moments! This is why I go to the movies!

I think some of the reviewers on here are not familiar with DePalma's work. If you look at Body Double, Dressed To Kill, and some of his other best work- you will see that a film like this is very true to his original work. It is campy / surreal / sexy / violent / and gripping!
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9/10
Sensual and thrilling
Foggy Clue5 January 2017
This film is a joy for lovers of psychological mystery, visual poetry and cinematic rhythm. I know this film is universally derided, also among revered critics, but I feel no shame to say I loved every second of it.

Passion is another fine edition to Das kabinet des Dr. De Palma. All the exquisite ingredients to his powerful way of seducing are here. The suspense, the hysteria, the other worldliness of the real world, the camera in a camera,the dream in a dream, the thrilling music, the drama, and the undefinable De Palma Touch.

Let yourself be caught of guard. Go see it without prejudice!
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3/10
Disappointing! 3/10
leonblackwood17 August 2013
Review: I didn't enjoy this movie that much because I found it quite slow and it did bore me in places. The two leading actresses put in good performances, but the whole tempo of the movie was slow and it doesn't seem to start to get going until the end. There are a couple of twists that makes you stick with the film but its still quite dull. The whole plot is based around sex, insecurities and portrayal and then it veers near the end, which was way to late for me. It seemed like t was made for TV, which was why it didn't make that much noise in Hollywood even though it has 2 big names as the leading characters. I was expecting much more from this thriller, but as usual, I was quite disappointed.

Round-Up: Since the original Dragon Tattoo franchise, Noomi Rapace's career has blossoms from movies like Prometheus to Sherlock Holmes, she can't seem to do much wrong and I don't that this movie will put a dent in her achievements. As for Rachel Adams, I don't really think that she suited being a bitch because I have seen her play the sweet girl next door so many times in movies like the Notebook, The Vow and she was also in Sherlock Holmes. With 2 big names as these, the director must have thought that this movie was halfway to making some noise in the movie world, but I think that the script could have done with some more work.

Budget: $30million (On What?) Worldwide Gross: N/A

I recommend this movie to people who are into there drama/thrillers about a controlling boss who thinks that she can get away with everything. 3/10
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6/10
A problematic entertainment, but manageable
Rodrigo Amaro14 August 2013
What was that, anyway? An exhilarating suspense carried with style but lacking in content or an intriguing whodunit that seems to live and breathe with sensuality but it's just a giant tease to cause some stir in the audience? De Palma's awaited return "Passion" has him returning to his days of "Dressed to Kill" and "Sisters" with a touch of "Basic Instinct" (this one directed by Paul Verhoeven) but failing in all accounts to look like any of those. Not only the man is out of ideas by remaking this (the original is a French film), he's also completely lost and confuse and the latter spread fast among us viewers so accustomed to see him completely in charge of what's he doing, always referencing the master of suspense and trying some innovations.

It doesn't go all the way down. There's admirable qualities in the story that involves jealousy, possession, lust, ambition, murder, mystery and other associated matters. In an advertising agency, the ultimate power comes from Christine Stanford, a hateful shrew (Rachel McAdams, brilliant) who is deeply admired by her dedicated protégée Isabelle (Noomi Rapace), who does anything to earn her respect by coming up with great ideas to promote the company and the clients' products. The ideas work, she's heading to be promoted but the boss takes up further and gets the credit for the idea. There's misunderstanding, outrageous acts by both sides of the issue, tense work environment and then tragedy takes place with a lousy investigation on course. And who killed Christine?

We're told that this is a story about passion. But it's more about intrigue, manipulation and domination than just desire. There's something going on between assistant and chief but we don't know exactly what. The first seems to be fascinated with the woman of power and action while the second is just using of all possible ways to get her things done, to explore everyone around her but ultimately is someone with some small weaknesses. Like "Basic Instict" it goes with the premise everyone's bisexual in a way. Or perhaps, they just "shift" of preference to follow their goals (as evidenced, Isabelle has an affair with Dirk, Christine's boyfriend). And that's where De Palma's movie deserved more outcry from the LGBT community than all of what Verhoeven's movie got. Not just because of that, but specially the way all the female characters are treated (and we have to include Isabelle's assistant, played by Karoline Herfurth). They're presented as manipulative, insensitive, mean spirited among other things, people who'll do anything to succeed, and here comes the sad example of the movie, weakened due to what they are in their sexual nature, represented on a tasteless scene where Christine schemes to fire Isabelle's aide on the grounds of being harassed by her. But those protests are pointless, the best one can do is really bad-mouth the movie.

"Passion" is not a bad movie, it just makes a lot of wrong turns on the way that it looks bad. The script when it comes to give us realistic elements (such as the work routines both the agency and the police, second half of the film) is a completely mess using of unbelievable situations, inauthentic reactions and behavior, very ridiculous at times. The weakest part was the public humiliation suffered by Isabelle. Since the idea is to come up with unbelievable situations, she should have pulled the George Costanza card ("Oh yeah? And I've had sex with your boyfriend!") as a way to get revenge from her boss rather than laugh hysterically sounding like a sick hyena. And if those "real" moments don't work how come they expect us to buy the cinematic and definitely illogical moments, like the mystery, the crimes, the plot twist? And we cringe to the dialog, cheap and absurdly spoken for most of the time.

But De Palma isn't completely lost and insecure. He creates some wonderful moments, most notably the Hitchcockian climax but using of a modernity element to built tension. Let's face it, he creates some interest and we follow along. Yet he insists in dividing the screen pretending he's serious about focusing simultaneous actions at the same time, technique he explored better in other movies and here is just dull. Call me nuts but I see more quality in "The Bonfire of the Vanities" than in this thing. OK, I'm a little biased because I love that movie despite its flaws. But still.

And I couldn't forget to mention how deceitful this picture is. De Palma is a master in involving us with seductive women, gorgeous femme fatales, sexy creatures who demand our attention and the main characters. However, Rapace, McAdams and Herfurth although beautiful they don't share that magnetic and powerful quality which Melanie Griffith had in "Body Double" or Michelle Pfeiffer in "Scarface". They were sexy and friendly yet they meant trouble. Here, the characters pretend to be too innocent or trouble is already exposed on their faces.

"Passion" lacks of sensuality, eroticism and excitement; its only advantage is to be a little more bold in the kissing department. In the end it's just a minor suspense, almost embarrassing considering who's involved and it's time for him to move on to another direction, trade of genre once and for all. It generates interest, a little entertaining but nothing we can be passionate about. 6/10
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3/10
Disappointing thriller, especially coming from a director with a track record in this line of work
JvH4821 October 2012
I saw this film at the Ghent filmfestival 2012, as part of the official closing event. Expectations rise high when festival programmers deem this film worthy material to serve as a starter for such an occasion. It has to be excellent, or at least controversial, to work as a conversation piece during the inevitable reception party after the screening. Also, this director has a track record in thrillers to keep up. All of that said, a disappointment can materialize easily, be it due to festival fatigue (seen 40 films in 12 days), or just an ambitious but failed product, or a director trusting too much on his routine, or all the above combined.

Whatever the cause of my disappointment, I refrained from my initial temptation to score a 1 (lowest) for the audience award when leaving the theater, and made it a 2 to compensate for a few (but not many) things that struck me as bright ideas.

My first problem lies in the scenario, letting us wait half an hour for an interesting plot coming along in the form of a fraud scheme that was about to be unveiled. That extra story line was needed badly at that point. It gave others than the two main woman characters a reason for having an active role in the events that followed, other than just being entourage.

Prior to that, we saw an ambitious woman (Christine), relatively high in the food chain, claiming to be the author of a successful ad that in fact was created by her subordinate (Isabelle). Of course, I don't want to defend such impeccable behavior, but it happens on a daily basis in the corporate world. You can accept it a few times as a fact of life, or decide it happened too often and that the time has come to move on and leave. Neither is it serious plot material that Isabelle gets laid by Christine's lover, nor Christine's sexual habits, nor her collection of sex toys.

A more interesting twist, however, was the story that Christine told about her identical twin sister. She considers herself the cause of her premature death in a traffic accident. She says that the dreadful event still haunts her. Others insist that the twin sister is invented as an excuse for her wrongdoings. An indirect "proof" that the twin sister, imaginary or not, has some very special role in Christine's mind, can be derived from the mask that looks exactly like her, and that her lover has to wear while having sex.

My second problem with the scenario is that the tension dropped to zero more than once. That should not happen in a film marked "thriller", created by an experienced director with a track record in this line of work. We are not sufficiently compensated with the turmoil of things that happen in the last half hour, all of which was far too condensed for the average viewer (like me) to dutifully absorb and thus appreciate. With some more attention for how to entertain the audience, I think that the scenes deserved some rearrangement, in order to spread the events better over the allotted time.

The announcement in the festival brochure labeled this film as an "erotic thriller" (see WikiPedia for a definition and a list of notable examples). Indeed, we observe a lot of things happening that bear some relationship or other with sex, love, erotic plays, even all of those mixed together. But can either one of these be construed as a driving force in the dramatic events we see?? Maybe only one at the end of the film (no details here, to prevent spoilers). But the rest comes down to competition on a business level, in other words: survival of the fittest.

I can go on and point out some other things I did not like about this film. But I don't think it adds very much to above description of my viewer experience. This is certainly not a masterpiece, and we know the director can do much better.
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2/10
Open letter to Mr. Brian De Palma
Luis_Felicio25 June 2013
Open letter to Mr. Brian De Palma

Hello De Palma, i love you so much, from your early movies till 2 hours ago. This is a BAD movie, from what you used to make. BAD acting ( Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace are excellent actresses) BAD artistic direction a PREDICTABLE argument. I'm so mad at you, i was hoping that you, with age, got better, but only the last 20 min of a 96min film !!! What happened to your Passion for real screams, and real fear, and most of all believability in a movie ? Where is the director of Phantom of the Paradise ? with such beautiful shots and magical music ? Where is the director of Obsession, Carrie, The Fury and Dressed to Kill (for me your best in the genre) with such memorable moments that made me chill, and grab my seat in amusement ? Where is the director of Body Double with such a good use of spinning around a scene, so it would engulf us in the moment ? You came back in Femme Fatale to this genre and made a good film, with a excellent script and excellent actors, but this ? You know how it's done, you just have to sit down and re- watch some Hitch movies, and re-watch some of the above, and choose a good crew and script. Sorry, but i'm so mad right now. I hope to love your work again

PS. I only mentioned movies on the category of Crime | Drama | Mystery

Luis
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3/10
Proof that without a decent storyline, the beautiful direction of a film goes to waste.
obnoxiousteacup31 July 2013
Warning: Spoilers
The premise of this film, I must admit, was very intriguing--murder, sex and betrayal in the corporate world--and it had so much potential to be a beautiful erotic thriller that would make Brian de Palma's hiatus worth it. But, having thought about this film over and over in my mind three days after I have watched it, I just can't like it. The visual style, no doubt, was absolutely stunning, but this film has too many flaws. As much as I tried to love this film--mostly due to the beautiful shots of spliced lighting that reminded me of classic film noirs--the plot was inexcusable. If you've seen the international trailer, you've seen the whole film. The whole catastrophe of the plot felt like a first draft, with added references to ballet in an attempt to make it 'sophisticated', but it only comes out as pretentious. Ultimately, the ending will make the viewer even more confused than they were at the beginning, and although it is clever in that aspect of having the audience think about it for days, it only just highlights how clumsy it is. The actor who plays Dirk presented a forced performance, and I didn't feel any empathy for him once. And the way the police investigation was handled... why the bias? incorrect procedures? If de Palma was going for an Absurdist angle, why make the first half in a realistic style and then the second half so mismatched? It completely throws off the audience. As much as I hate giving films negative reviews, this one deserves it; however, if you are going to go and watch it anyway, I'd advise getting some coffee or tea to keep you awake, and that this is definitely NSFW.
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4/10
Not a passion for credibility (screen)
leplatypus25 May 2013
Even the aesthete should take a training course. Written and directed by a movie maestro, his new opus has become what movies have become today: totally cut from the reality and the people!

If it's about a sexual harassment at work, I wonder if the people involved in this movie have really worked one single day: the firm is making thousand selling ideas, they had great trips to London, NYC, meet clients in party, work in their expensive flat and everybody is having sex with everybody, boss or employee, man or woman. Well, this background is so absurd and unbelievable that I couldn't care for the characters.

And what about them? Except Noomi, all the cast is a failure: McAdams isn't convincing as a slutty boss and the rest is transparent. Worse, their motivations are totally dumb: if every time an employee has a disagreement, it leads to a murder, well, it will be know so far. The investigation is totally crap as I can't tell what have happened: anybody can explain me the final shoot? And as Lynch failed with "Mulholland", the lesbianism is again a boy candy: no emotion, no feelings, just a fantasy!

What's left?

De Palma offers a few psychotic moment with dark light and plays well with all the screens that modern technology offers: phones, TV, camera, computer...

And, Noomi, of course: frankly, she is really the best actress nowadays. Like the pantheon, she is a chameleon and seems to reinvent herself in each movie. Here, she looks a bit like a Vulcan and can always show the whole scale of her emotions: happy, sad, crazy, afraid, fragile.

As it was a disappointment, i wonder what the French original movie looks like because usually, french cinema is far worst !
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