The great Brian De Palma’s Passion is a return to his ‘80s erotic thriller heyday. However, the master of suspense appears to have lost his touch and the 2012 film fails to hit the mark.
Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace star as a pair of advertising executives, who are working together on the launch of a revolutionary mobile phone. Their professional relationship soon spills over into their personal lives, which eventually leads to murder. De Palma should be having a field day with this material (he wrote the script, adapted from the French film, Crime d’amour), but even the director’s trademark visual flourishes can’t help Passion rise to the occasion.
Things pick-up towards the end of the last act, when the twists and turns begin to kick-in, but even this isn’t enough. I don’t know if the ending makes sense, but at least you see that De Palma is quite energised. You could argue that a minor De Palma movie is better than no De Palma movie at all, but it looks like the years of fighting with the studios have finally taken their toll. Passion comes across as a film made by a director who just wants to make a hassle-free production, playing it safe in all areas to appease the money men. The problem with this is that the film is so generic, like a ‘90s cable thriller that’s aping De Palma’s style. Young audiences will find it boring, while the more mature filmgoer will find it like a flaccid copy of something they’ve already seen. Sadly, it’s far from peak De Palma.
In 2012 Passion grossed $92,181 in the US and $713,616 globally.