Reviewed by: Anne-Katrin Titze

Passion is Brian De Palma's 2012 lifeless remake of Crime D'Amour (Love Crime), the 2010 film from French director Alain Corneau. This cynical, misogynistic old man's tale of shameless product placement using computers, vodka, phones, automobiles, and expensive watches is all that remains. Rachel McAdams is acting terribly, and so is everyone else here: Huffing and puffing when angry, singing to self when happy. It most resembles German TV movies from the Nineties which badly attempted to recreate the success of Basic Instinct (1992). James Cagney's grapefruit kiss of Mae Clarke in William Wellman's Public Enemy (1931) has more juice than all the kisses in Passion.

Let's start with the look. The Berlin Reichstag, seen through several office windows, wooden sets of apartments and conference rooms, and, oh, how sinister, a parking garage with a Coca Cola vending machine are stale because nothing human and alive walks around in these clich├ęd and uninspired locations. The costumes are color coordinated. One woman with dark hair (Noomi Rapace as Isabel) wears black, one woman with blond hair (Rachel McAdams as Christine) wears grey (ignoring Kim Novak's protest about the iconic Vertigo suit) then red, then pink, then dies, and the supporting German assistant (Karoline Herfurth) gets a bit of animal print patchwork with tight vests that mark her as a lesbian in De Palma's universe. What is supposed to look stylish comes across as tacky, if expensive. What is supposed to be read as passionate and alluring is embarrassingly typecasting women.

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Green stripper platform sandals and a boring white scarf malfunction as important plot clue accessories. Few films have failed so miserably by so desperately trying to link to Hitchcock. A split screen in the second half of the movie shows a performance of the Afternoon Of A Faun ballet on the left and a shower scene (!) on the right. Torn Curtain (1966) meets Psycho (1960) is wishful thinking.

Did De Palma care more for every necklace and coffee machine he shows in close-up? As he was "unavoidably detained" at the last minute for the New York Film Festival press conference, I could not ask him this question.

His Passion lacks all charm, and is mostly an insult to his actors and to a public that goes to the cinema. You can forgive a plot with inane dialogue when there is something else to focus on.

As the secrets of this unvaried and vapid thriller are revealed, I could not care anymore. Did everyone involved in this movie take the obtrusively tossed about pills? When the gag of an "ass cam", which records reactions to said body part on the street, is the height of sophisticated fun, all you can do is quote one of the characters back to them: "You are right - this is crap."

Reviewed on: 19 Sep 2012
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A thriller about vengeance and competition between women.
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Director: Brian De Palma

Writer: Natalie Carter, Alain Corneau & Brian De Palma

Starring: Rachel McAdams, Noomi Rapace, Paul Anderson & Karoline Herfurth

Year: 2012

Runtime: 110 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: France, Germany


New York 2012

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